Going back to medieval methods would certainly put less strain on the environment, but it would also be incredibly inefficient and could not possibly meet produce demands. Medieval farmers used extremely basic tools, and the success of their crops was very hit-or-miss.
Using Medieval farming methods, or even those of the 19th century, could not possibly sustain the food needs of the present population. Reduce the population to maybe a tenth of what it is and then try those methods. Modern agriculture requires modern mass-produced things, from oil and steel to fertilizer and insecticides, to produce food on the necessary scale for around 7 billion people. And of course even now, food production and distribution are by no means uniform.
It’s a great question and deserves lots of discussion. Going back to unmechanized farming requires an impossible leap now that we are so urbanized and so far into unsustainable practices. Better to think about reversing our practices in degrees. Shopping locally and having a backyard (or even rooftop) garden is a start. Becoming aware of and involved with groups who are making these changes will really engage your brain in wonderful possibilities. Some listed below. Check out permacuture and get excited about the wonderful possibilities. Good luck with your search.http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/reports/2004/sustainability-within-a-generation/
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