As summer winds down and I am harvesting insane amounts of organic heirloom tomatoes from my garden (and have the fruit flies in my home to prove it!), I came across this fascinating article. One of the most common objections to organic farming is that if everyone switched to organic farming then there would not be enough food in the world for everyone. The logic goes that it takes intensive farming using fertilizers and pesticides to produce enough food for people to eat. But a new study
coming out of the University of Michigan proves that excuse wrong. The study shows that "organic farming can yield up to three times as much food on individual farms in developing countries, as low-intensive methods on the same land—according to new findings which refute the long-standing claim that organic farming methods cannot produce enough food to feed the global population." Nice.
So why is this a good thing? As the article points out, "organic farming is important because conventional agriculture—which involves high-yielding plants, mechanized tillage, synthetic fertilizers and biocides—is so detrimental to the environment...For instance, fertilizer runoff from conventional agriculture is the chief culprit in creating dead zones—low oxygen areas where marine life cannot survive. Proponents of organic farming argue that conventional farming also causes soil erosion, greenhouse gas emission, increased pest resistance and loss of biodiversity." Basically we are screwing over the world and our health with what have become common farming practices. Organic farming seeks sustainable and healthy methods of providing food. It cares for the environment, the consumers' health, and the health and well-being of the farmer. (and yes, the health issues of the migrant farmer who makes $7000 a year with no health insurance who has to breath pesticides and fertilizers in mass quantities are a serious issue if you even remotely think life is precious and sacred).
So what's the catch? Why aren't people jumping on the organic bandwagon? I'm sure they don't say - "because we enjoy destroying the environment, getting cancer, and killing migrant farmers" (at least I hope they don't). No those issues are usually ignored in favor of - "because organic is inconvenient and expensive." And boy does that reveal what our values really are.
Labels: Culture, Environment, Social Justice