With more than 25 years of professional experience in plant biotechnology, Thomas Brutnell
founded Viridis Genomics Consulting to advise academic and industry scientists, as well as institutional investors, on strategies to advance plant breeding objectives. Through Viridis, Thomas Brutnell has had the privilege of working with leading researchers and scientists on finding solutions to key challenges facing sustainable agriculture
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has listed sustainable agriculture as a key priority on its post-2015 development agenda. In 2015, an estimated 793 million people worldwide were chronically hungry. Unsustainable agricultural practices were the greatest contributing factor to this problem.
This challenge led to the FAO’s development of principles that serve as a guide for the development of strategies and approaches to promote a global transition to sustainable agriculture.
Principle 1 states that more efficient use of available resources is critical to achieving sustainable agriculture. This may involve the modification of current practices to improve the production of food, and agricultural systems overall.
Principle 2 states that conservation, protection, and enhancement of natural resources are central to achieving sustainable agriculture.
Principle 3 states that any agricultural practice that does not protect or improve the livelihood and well-being of rural communities is unsustainable.
Principle 4 states that sustainable agriculture must make people, communities, and ecosystems resilient– especially in critical situations such as market volatility and climate change, which tend to destabilize agricultural systems. Policies, practices, and technologies must develop producers’ resilience to these threats in order to ensure sustainability.
Principle 5 states that in order for natural and human systems to be sustainable, good governance is essential.
As noted by Thomas Brutnell “at Viridis Genomics Consulting, we embrace these principles and strive to develop sustainable solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change while ensuring a safe and abundant food supply for generations to come”.