Blog.Himachal Fruits™

Information about Horticulture & Agriculture just to help growers

– Himachal Fruits

Posted on | August 3, 2020 | No Comments

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: Organic farming can not feed the world.

: People on anabolic steroids do indeed put on more muscle mass than people not taking steroids. Does this mean we should take steroids in order to be healthier and more muscular? Of course not. The same basic logic applies to our agricultural system.

We fully acknowledge that the likelihood of the world completely switching to organic farming at any point in the near future is somewhere between slim and none. Rather, our hope is that best practices from organic growing systems (polyculture plant systems, organic IPM systems, no-till, etc) will be mainstreamed by conventional farmers, even if their operations don’t become fully organic or certified.

Regardless, this section is intended to dismantle the myth that organic agriculture can not feed the world if such a global shift were to happen. Let’s start with the basics: it’s often claimed that we’ll have to double food production to feed the 9+ billion people projected to be on earth by 2050.

Here are some statistics to chew on:

, , . 70% of the food the world eats is currently grown by small farmers.

. The majority of the exported commodity crops, meat, and dairy we produce go to other first world countries; only 8% goes to non-first world countries.

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: 71% of our adult population is overweight or obese and 15% of households are food insecure.
Based on this data, can you spot the biggest single problem in the world and in the US? An overabundance of poor-quality, hyper-processed addictive junk foods (aka the “western diet“), which are causing epidemics of chronic illnesses and diseases ranging from obesity to diabetes to heart disease. And this type of diet is exactly what a field of GE soy or corn growing in Iowa is designed to provide.

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Also, consider this: as many studies have shown, we currently produce enough food to feed 10 billion people, and agricultural production the world over is increasing at a rate faster than our population growth. In short: the problem is not one of production.

What is the problem? Largely, it’s poverty, inequality, and a lack of knowledge and technology. Pretty much anywhere you go on earth, if you can afford to buy food, you can get food. Just as we can not solve the problem of third world transportation woes by producing more BMWs, we can’t solve the problems of hunger, malnutrition, and diet-related diseases by producing more soy, corn, and CAFO animals–that will only serve to create new, potentially worse problems.

So how do we actually go about feeding the world? As a global consortium of agricultural scientists and policy experts who studied this question found, the answer (on the production side) lies in investing in “agroecology.” Essentially, this means empowering small farmers throughout the world through education and access to proven farming practices that increase yields while minimizing ecological impacts (what we call “organic” production in the first world).

This also means leveling the playing field from an investment/policy standpoint. , % % .This means taxpayers (you) are paying to give an unfair market advantage to a food production model that can not possibly scale to produce healthy people or a healthy planet.

Closer to home, researchers at Washington State University published a study in 2016 that came to the same conclusions. Their meta analysis reviewed hundreds of published studies and 40 years of data, concluding that, “organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment and be safer for farm workers.”

Other problems to address to feed the world
Without diving too deep, three other huge interrelated factors that must be addressed in order to truly feed the world today and in the coming century are:

. . In the first world, 50% of the food we produce is thrown in the garbage by consumers. In the developing world, 50% of food produced never makes it to the consumer due to spoilage. Even though both problems technically fall under the category of “waste,” they are fundamentally different problems requiring different technological and cultural solution sets.

. .People in the first world currently eat far more animal protein than is necessary or healthy. The negative ecological and human health impacts caused by producing and consuming low-quality CAFO animals are truly staggering. This pattern can not scale up as more countries around the globe develop. Transitioning to a primarily plant-based, organic diet is a fairly simple solution on paper, but getting widespread adoption is a challenge.

. “ .” (Maybe that’s a less politically-charged term than climate change.) A warmer climate means stronger, more frequent, more intense storms. It means more extreme weather events (extreme heat waves, extreme droughts, extreme floods, extreme forest fires, etc.). It means less nutrient-rich foods. It means more economic stress on farmers, especially in less developed parts of the world, which then leads to mass migrations into cities, which causes political upheavals that lead to refuge crises that trigger destabilizing events even in once-stable western democracies (butterfly effect).

The one-two punch of clean energy and clean farming have the potential to reverse our present trajectory. Even if all the science on this issue is completely wrong, the worst case scenario is that we’ll end up with cleaner, safer living conditions, be healthier, and enjoy better quality food. What a tragedy!
We hope this article provides you with the information you need to better understand and respond to false or misleading claims about organic farming. In our opinion, this is one of the most important transitions the world needs to make moving forward. Just as we desperately need to transition to clean, renewable energy sources, so too do we need to transition to clean, regenerative agricultural models.

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