One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.
In the film The Martian, Matt Damon’s character survives being stranded on another planet by growing potatoes in his own faeces. And if we want to visit or maybe even settle on other planets for real, we’ll have to find a way to grow plants outside the safe environment of the Earth. On long space voyages in particular, plants will provide a vital source of food and oxygen.