Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John van Buren


This paper discusses and examines the longstanding issues surrounding industrial food production as it currently exists and the various ways that purpose-driven enterprises and environmentally-conscious consumers in the United States have been able to steer food production in a more sustainable direction. Over the course of the technological revolution, people living in metropolitan areas have become so distanced from farms and the processes of food production that many are ignorant of the realities of the food industry. Chapter 1 addresses these issues by presenting quantitative data that lays out a timeline of the evolution of the food and agriculture industry in America as well as data that contrasts industrial agriculture with more recent innovative agriculture models. Chapter 2 examines the history of American agriculture and food production in order to better understand the drastic differences between the more “traditional” models, what has become the norm within American industrial agriculture, and recent sustainability-focused models of agriculture. Chapter 3 approaches the food industry from an ethical perspective. Chapter 4 discusses the way in which the business of agriculture is affected by governmental policy, and how, in turn, the livelihoods of American farmers can become greatly dependent on certain government subsidy programs and lastly how people of lower socio-economic backgrounds are restricted in their food access. Chapter 5 addresses the propensity of average Americans to accept the norms of the new food industry whether they are ignorant of the problems surrounding the industry or they do not feel compelled to change it. Chapter 6 will offer suggestions about sustainable agriculture practices as well as potential policy changes that would promote more ethical agriculture practices.