``The simplification of the agricultural world and our diets has come with benefits... In concert with the homogenization of agriculture, we have figured out how to grow more food per acre than ever before--ten times more food than ten thousand years ago, perhaps a hundred times more than fifteen thousand years ago. As a result, a smaller number of people on earth go hungry today than at any other moment in the last thousand years. Modern science has brought us food in abundance, just as it brought the United Fruit Company affluence. Yet this abundance, like the affluence of modern banana companies, is tenuous, dependent on our ability to protect the very few species on which we now depend. The problem is that nearly all those key species are in trouble, because in simplifying the production of our food we achieved short-term benefits at the expense of long-term benefits--and, for that matter, at the expense of long-term sustainability.''

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