In his talk entitled The global food system, nitrogen and the metabolic rift: Farming - and eating -within planetary boundaries, Prof. Sage will discuss how the planetary scale processes, especially those that are approaching or even transgressing limits, capture something of the ‘metabolic rift’ as originally conceived by Karl Marx. Given his concern for the robbing of soil fertility by capitalist agriculture, it seems apposite to consider the way in which the apparently successful ‘solution’ has served to disrupt a key global nutrient cycle. The metaphor of metabolic rift will be developed by focussing upon the nitrogen cycle and the ways in which its global disequilibrium has resulted from an industrialised global food system that has reshaped agriculture around the world. If we are to recover and restore planetary balance in this particular area, then it becomes clear that we must examine the potential for transition towards an agroecological model of food production that makes greater use of local nutrient cycling pathways.
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