I'd like to add a significant item to the compilation:
In 1977, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements held
an international conference in Switzerland, called "Towards a Sustainable
Agriculture" (the same name as Jackson's 1978 piece, coincidentally). (The
proceedings were published by Wirz Publisher, of Aarau, Switzerland, in
1978). The conference chair, Colin Fisher, of Britain, opened the conference
with an introduction to the conference theme. His interpretation of
"sustainable agriculture" covered a great many elements, such as "harmony
with nature," "diversity," "renewable resources," "input of thought,
ingenuity, care, and personal involvement," "good nutrition," "the people who
work or live on the farm," "the relationship of the farm to the rest of the
community," "aesthetically pleasing," "dynamism," etc., etc. He summarized
all this under the single concept "pursuit of excellence." He also asked
the foresighted question of whether "the concept of sustainability has any
relevance to the millions of starving and malnourished human beings in the
world whose needs are immediate."
Several things are notable about this.
1. This early (earliest?) treatment of sustainable agriculture was very
strongly associated with the organic movement. Sometimes we forget that our
current notion of sustainable agriculture has intellectual roots that go back
much further, especially to organic farming, which sometimes gets shunted
aside despite our debt to it.
2. This early definition covered almost everything that has since been
included under the term "sustainable agriculture."
3. I seem to recall that after Colin's talk, there was little or no further
discussion of the term "sustainable agriculture" -- there just didn't seem to
be any need to. The remaining four days were devoted to research on systems
that embody these principles, not to debates over definitions. Now just
think where we might be if the next 17 years had been spent that way too!