According to John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri Columbia College of Agriculture, “As it pertains to agriculture, sustainable describes farming systems that are “capable of maintaining their productivity and usefulness to society indefinitely. Such systems... must be resource-conserving, socially supportive, commercially competitive, and environmentally sound.” By definition, food is material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Sustainable agriculture was addressed by Congress in the 1990 Farm Bill [Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1603]. Under that law, “the term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term: satisfy human food and fiber needs enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls sustain the economic viability of farm operations enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”
Genetic engineering: Manipulation of an organism's genes by introducing, eliminating or rearranging specific genes using the methods of modern molecular biology, particularly those techniques referred to as recombinant DNA techniques. Genetic engineering is the name for certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism. Genetically engineered crops came to food supply in 1999.
Genetic modification is "the production of heritable improvements in plants or animals for specific uses, via either genetic engineering or other more traditional methods" (i.e. cross-breeding.)i
No definition for industrial agriculture could be found from USDA or FDA, but The Union of Concerned Scientists and Pesticide Action Network define it as the system of chemically intensive food production developed in the decades after World War II, featuring enormous single-crop farms and animal production facilities. The end-objective is increasing yields while controlling costs by replacing solar energy and manual labor with machines. Many experts have warned against these systems including the FDA, but the campaign contributions from Biotech Companies influence their continuation and limited regulation and are manifested in the form of government subsidies.
The genetically modified crops used in industrial agriculture lack diversity. They are limited to commodities corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, and cotton. These crops have no enhanced nutritional value and are basically used in processed foods. A peer-reviewed research article, published by Nature Biotechnology, states in part, “A number of new genes are being used that had not previously existed in food. The only published human feeding experiment revealed that genetic material inserted into GE soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. Even after we stop eating GE foods, we may still have the GE proteins produced continuously inside us.” The US government’s official position: GM foods are "substantially equivalent" to conventional foods. Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed so far to significantly increase U.S. crop yields. “Failure to Yield,” a report compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists, reviews two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the