@ Annieh "Don't know how you manage the same on a scale to feed whole cities tho."
I have read about and put a lot of thinking into the same question....I think the answer is simple and can be put in one sentence: Decentralized, self-sustaining farms.
As anyone would tell you, a much larger percentage used to be farmers. In their place, huge corporations have assumed the role of making all of our food and meat. I always find it ironic when people complain about how Monsanto or ConAgra use GMO, are responsible for all evil on Earth, and must be stopped....and then in the next sentence explain that what we are doing is not sustainable.
No. It is not.....because of the reason they just outlined.
These corporations exist on monoculture, of plants, animals, and feed for the animals. This practice is devastating for topsoil, creates dead zones of fertilizer runoff, and is a clear case of corporate hegemony into the most basic of human need. It is truly amazing that they have pulled it off and convinced people that their way is the only way.
A real farm is a self-enclosed, nearly completely self-sustaining entity. The animals, crops, all of it moves in a cycle that is mutually beneficial. I have many neighbors that farm, and all have told me essentially the same thing....that outside of basic equipment, gas for tractors (which some don't even use), and markets, they don't ever need anything to come or go. They are their own little ecosystem....and once they leave, the land is reclaimed very quickly, with strong soil for nature to move into. One man I know has made his entire home such that, as he says, "In 100 years this will all be forest again. Everything here will either be taken by my children or by the Earth when I die." Even his wood home....
It would be perfectly scalable for cities if we simply had MORE people farming, and FEWER in the city. Again though, corporate and governmental power is helped by dependent, city living....my farmer/hunter neighbors that make their own blankets out of deer fur are much less useful to them. If we were to have a national program, like previous ones such as the Homestead Act (long time ago, I know) or CCC, we could return to a system in which 10-15% of the population farmed, in simple and sustainable ways, and it would easily be able to keep up with the current model, likely surpassing it....many of these people are broke now, working in dead-end jobs or recently lost a better one....if we were to empower them, give them small plots of land to produce food on with a subsidy (cheap compared to welfare systems), and have them producing both food and tax revenue, we would really change things.
There are a million ways it COULD be done, is all I am saying. It is not impossible....it is that the powers that be would be hurt pretty badly by such a system, and they are the (lone) profiteers of the current one. People are unhealthy, underemployed, and want something more for their lives across the country. That is not news.
To say that for all of us to live as we were designed, with yes, more meat eating likely, cannot be done.....that is an amazing victory against real change by the powerful.
Like the despots of generations have said for a long time: you don't have to STOP people from wanting change. That takes guns and you will lose eventually (see any recently fallen dictator)....you have to convince them that YOUR system, your power, is the only viable option, that it is the only way.
Well done. Looks like you have succeeded for some.
"They now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures, commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry." - Thomas Jefferson, 1826