The following is something I posted on someone's Google+ thread. Long rant follows the break as it did not there.
100 years ago there weren't laws preventing you from using humanure to grow your food. And no-till agriculture is more efficient than that nonsense using rototillers and tractors and so on. Of course, it's only nonsense if you're only producing enough food for your own consumption; machines have their place in agriculture. I eagerly await further advances in robotics in agriculture, as that is the technology that makes it possible for economically feasible mechanized food production without destruction of the soil, water, air, et cetera. However, we have masses of unemployed in most of our societies worldwide, and such an advance would only exacerbate this problem. (long rant which followed deleted and moved to my blog)
(and here it is)
A family farm using the waste from the animals and from the people as well (processed in a composting toilet like a _bason_ is probably the best way, but there are others) can actually involve very little labor and requires very little energy input that does not come from the sun. The major expenses are medical for people and animals, which seems like a problem we ought to be able to solve as a society. Instead, our government is actively doing the will of corporations like Monsanto, and placing barriers in our path when we attempt to traffic in or even produce healthy food.
A number of economic factors threaten the ability to even engage in small-scale food production _without_ fertilizer, fuel, et cetera. The redistribution of water to permit food production in places where it really makes very little ecologic sense in order to magnify economic benefit depletes aquifers and creates dust bowls. Inevitable overuse of pesticides (for which we now genetically engineer crops) leads to death of the organics in soil, turning it into an inert medium for hydroponics, thus necessitating the massive doses of chemical fertilizers. Most crops today are grown _continuously_ meaning that not only are fields not permitted to lie fallow but they do not even rotate crops. This is a sensible decision, however, as rotation would not provide any benefit at this point as the beneficial nematodes and other organisms which make the nutrients left behind from one wave available to the next have been killed off by the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Don't believe the lie that producing one's own food is difficult, expensive, toxic, or any of that; it is only such if you abandon all wisdom of the last ten thousand years and attempt to replicate commercially-desirable "green revolution" farming methods in your back yard, methods which have not fed one single person who would otherwise have starved, but which have themselves caused starvation in numerous incidents.