Janet Ranganathan, Craig Hanson, A New Approach to Feeding the World, The Solutions Journal, Volume 2, Issue 5, September 2011, Pages 26-30 (https://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/article/a-new-approach-to-feeding-the-world/) Abstract: For centuries, Minqin Oasis, along the Silk Road in northwestern China, provided a welcome port of call to travelers, serving as a natural barrier against the unremitting dryness of the Tengger and Badain Jaran deserts. That changed in the 1950s, when Chairman Mao implemented a national plan to boost food production. The resulting cultivation, deforestation, irrigation, and reclamation of the oasis initially boosted food output, but inadvertently degraded the capacity of Minqin’s natural ecosystems to provide freshwater and prevent soil erosion. Without these critical ecological defenses, the fertile land succumbed to encroaching deserts, forcing residents to abandon their homes and farms.1 Decades later and thousands of miles away, in the Gulf of Mexico, nutrient runoff from intensive crop, livestock, and biofuel production in the Mississippi River basin has cut a devastating path through coastal ecosystems and fisheries.2 The result is a dead zone roughly the size of the … Topics: Agriculture & Food; Sustainability