You are here

Definitions and History of Sustainable Agriculture

The USDA has defined sustainable agriculture - but underlying the definition are diverse and sometimes controversial views of sustainability. Explore a variety of approaches and practices, current and past, to appreciate where agriculture is going in the future.

Leonardo Academy, Inc.

The American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture (ANSI/LEO-4000), approved in November, 2015, is the first national standard established for sustainable agriculture. The Standard addresses food and nonfood crops.

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Read about the issues, controversies and progress in defining "sustainable agriculture;" review practices and systems associated with sustainability; and find articles and authors.

National Research Council. Board on Agriculture; National Academy Press.

Findings and recommendation from the National Research Council's Committee on the "Role of Alternative Farming Methods in Modern Production Agriculture." (Open Book format)

Third World Network and Sociedad Cientifica Latinoamericana de Agroecologia (SOCLA).

This booklet "serves as a resource document outlining the fundamentals of agroecology and how it can inform the design and management of truly sustainable agricultural systems."

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). Western Region.

(Downloadable pdf document)

This account by J. Patrick Madden of the early years of the national sustainable agriculture research and education programs was prepared initially in 1995, under a contract between the SARE Program and the World Sustainable Agriculture Association.