A number of obstacles presently stand in the way of efforts to make Canada’s agricultural system more sustainable. A heavy reliance on chemical inputs, industrial processing, and long distances between farm and plate have contributed to high rates of greenhouse gas emissions, degradation of water and soil quality, and threats to biodiversity. These ecological challenges have mirrored social and economic challenges in the pursuit of sustainable agriculture, including a steady decline in the number of farms, concurrent with growth in the average size of farming operations, and the presence of a sink-or-swim environment where only the largest, most-mechanized and capital-intensive farms can compete.
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