The Future of Organic Foods
Organic farming practices can positively change our planet.
Many large companies see industrial agriculture as more financially
rewarding than organic agriculture, and use chemical fertilisers to
increase product yields and chemical pesticides to decrease product
losses. But they ignore the loss of fertile topsoil and large-scale
environmental pollution that the use of chemicals produces.
More and more people are switching to healthier, pesticide-free foods.
Many supermarket chains are expanding organic product sections, since
their customers are concerned with the health of their families and the
negative environmental and physical effects of pesticides, herbicides,
fertilisers, and hormones. In Australia, the National Centre for
Farmer Health is presently investigating the connection between
pesticide use and cancer.
In the Farming Systems Trial—the longest comparative study of farming
methods in America—the Rodale Institute evaluated chemical-based
agriculture against organic farming for over 30 years.
Organic farming methods proved 28 percent more efficient, released 40 percent less harmful emissions, and were more adaptable to climate change. Organic farms use less land and less energy to achieve comparable productivity.
Small-scale organic farming can also revitalise rural communities by
providing food and job security. As well, organic methods are gradually
repairing environmental damage that has been caused by excessive use of
As the World Resources Institute noted, most of the high-quality
agricultural land is already in production worldwide, and the
environmental costs of converting our remaining forest, grassland, and
wetland habitats to cropland would be very high. And if all these
costs, including those borne by farmers, communities, and nature, are
added, the industrial farming approach is clearly not cost-effective.
Organic farms recycle many biological wastes, and continually
regenerate soil and water resources. Organic farming respects the health
of soils, waters, natural ecosystems, farmers and their communities.
Can the polluting, soil-depleting methods of chemical agriculture
actually feed future generations? The last doubling of U.S. food output
required a six-fold increase in fertiliser use, and an even greater rise
in pesticide applications.
All our futures are at risk if we continue to support industrial farming.