fertilizers and pesticides as well as manure.29 ―Dead zones,‖ oxygen
-deprived coastal areas where deadly algae bloom, are attributed to agricultural runoff and are known to occur in theGulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay.30 Groundwater and soil are also contaminated by the
vast amounts of chemicals dumped onto crops, and these chemicals ultimately destroy the soil‘s
natural fertility process.31 As soil fertility declines, industrial farms use ever-increasing amountsof chemical fertilizers to achieve consistent yields.32Chemical pesticides are also used in ever-increasing amounts.33 As pests and insects becomeresistant to chemicals, industrial farmers must use increasingly lethal chemical pesticides.34Furthermore, chemical pesticides are applied indiscriminately and beneficial insects aredestroyed alongside harmful ones.35 Additionally, mechanized administration methods areharmfully imprecise; much of the administered pesticides never reach the plants but do reachsurrounding soil and water.36 Thus, mechanized administration causes excessive contaminationof the soil and water without providing a countervailing benefit to the crops.37Industrial monocultural farming focuses on large-scale production of a single crop; as a result,land is overcultivated, crops are not rotated, and cover crops that protect topsoil betweengrowing seasons are not employed.38 Monocultural farming practices have many negativeconsequences, including soil erosion, depletion of soil nutrients, loss of biodiversity, extinctionof natural enemies, increased agricultural waste, and increased use of chemicals.39 Monoculture
practices also upset the natural balance of the planet‘s ecosystems.40 When we upset the
balance of ecosystems, the long-term effects of these disturbances may not be realized for many years, and at that point it will be too late to reverse the damage.Industrial, monocultural agriculture systems are also threatened by climate zone shifts broughton by greenhouse gas emissions.41 Climate change will reduce water sources, raise sea levelsresulting in flooding of coastal land, and dry the interiors of the northern continents.42Flooding and drought conditions will stress agricultural systems, and food shortages will likely ensue.43 Industrial monoculture farms require intensive investment into land development,irrigation, and equipment.44 As climate change continues, many monoculture farms will nolonger be suitable for producing the single crops they were designed to produce.45 Diverse,multidimensional agricultural systems will allow for the adaptation of crop and farmingpractices in response to rapidly changing climate conditions and will help to ensure foodsecurity.
Cuba’s model of urban agriculture is a sustainable alternative
LL.M. expected 2011, University of Arkansas School of Law, Graduate Programin Agricultural and Food Law; J.D. 2010, University of Oregon School of Law (Kathryn,
―Creating a Sustainable Urban Agriculture Revolution‖ J. ENVTL. LAW AND LITIGATION [Vol.
25, 203, http://law.uoregon.edu/org/jell/docs/251/peters.pdf)
While urban agriculture was a response to a dramatic crisis in Cuba‘s history, through the
development of a community-based system of cultivation on previously vacant lots employingorganic farming techniques,