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Key Message

Sustainable livelihoods and sustainable agriculture principles include perennial and bio-dynamic cropping systems, ecological goods and services valuation, and sustainable bioenergy production.

Agriculture

Resilience in prairie agriculture

The Canadian Prairies, “the Breadbasket of the World,” currently face multiple crises driven by ruinous multi-year drought, collapsed commodity prices and disastrous farm incomes, and threatened by future climate change. Our goal is to harness the opportunity wrought by these crises to re-envision a sustainable system of prairie agriculture resilient to environmental and economic shocks and stresses. Our framework is based on sustainable livelihoods and sustainable agriculture principles such as perennial and bio-dynamic cropping systems, ecological goods and services valuation, and sustainable bioenergy production.

IISD is a leading think tank on sustainable prairie agriculture, and a source of innovative research on policies that promote resilience to climatic stress and climate change. The Sustainable Natural Resources Management program's goal in the field of agriculture is to broaden the policy discourse regarding the future of agriculture on the Canadian Prairies to include careful examination of options that will make this socio-ecological system more resilient.

In its international work on resilience in agricultural systems, the SNRM program is examining the policies promoting and impeding adaptive water resources and agricultural management in areas that are historically highly exposed to climate variability in a four-year project in Canada and India, funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

It is anticipated that, through its work, IISD's SNRM program will effect change in provincial and federal agricultural policy discourse towards resource-efficient agriculture, sustainable rural livelihoods and environmental stewardship.