Producing an adequate quantity of healthy food without polluting the environment is a serious challenge for future agriculture around the world. The Food 21 research program in Sweden has researched all aspects—economic, environmental, and social—of sustainable farming systems. This paper presents some of the research from that and other relevant international research programs that have focused on better nutrient-use efficiency, especially for nitrogen and phosphorus. It shows that a range of sustainable solutions to nutrient-use efficiency exists, some of which are complex but some very simple. Government policies, including subsidies; research and technology; and public acceptance of farming practices all combine to create these solutions. Participatory approaches to knowledge transfer are needed, in which scientists, policy makers, farmers, advisers, and consumers exchange information and together build sustainable farming systems.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4