Sustainable intensification is a sensible, globally defined, approach to agriculture necessary to help meet the challenge of continued population and economic growth. In the EU the emphasis has to be on the first of the two words. The actions to move to a path of sustainable intensification will be very different across the heterogeneous territory and farming systems of the EU. It is necessary to detoxify the word ‘intensive’ and to reduce the woolliness of the word ‘sustainable’. A simple way of explaining the intensification required for SI is to say that it demands more knowledge per hectare. This will especially be knowledge of the impacts of farming on the biodiversity and ecosystems which make up the agricultural landscape. Practically it requires new approaches to measuring and managing the environmental impacts of farming systems. Organic farming is one of many such approaches, but its economic sustainability remains in question.