DEAR NEW FARM:
I've been wanting to find an answer or answers to one of
the bigger questions concerning organic farming. I'm quite
sure this is an age-old cliché for those in the know
like you good people, so it might sound naive to say the least.
That being said, I would hope to hear some numbers or studies
that could confirm what I believe to be true.
Anyhow, the problem I run into is that when I talk to farmers
or other people about organic gardening and farming, so many
times they retort that organic farming could not sustain our
world’s population. In other words, the argument is
that if the whole world went organic, then people would starve.
It seems funny to me that virtually all agriculture was organic
before World War II, even if they didn't use composting or
sustainable or conservational techniques.
But many argue that now that the population is what it is,
there has to be conventional farming with poisons and chemical
fertilizers. I myself just don't believe it to be true, but
these farmers talk as if it would be too much work to farm
without chemicals (which I think is crazy). Anyhow, this has
been bugging me and I wish I could have some hard evidence
and/or data that supports this nutty theory that the whole
world could go organic. Maybe the transition would be difficult,
but I believe it could be done. I just wish I had some evidence
to back it up so I can try and talk sense to these hardheads.
Even if they won't buy it, I’m just really curious to
say the least. Thank you so much.
Your question is not naïve at all. We are all constantly
bombarded with the agribusiness-sponsored spin that we need
pesticides and herbicides to feed our burgeoning planet. Corporate-funded
“think tanks” such as the Hudson Institute are
paid big bucks to perpetrate these myths and to debunk organic
agriculture in the media. They can be very effective, so we
must be ever vigilant.
It’s funny you mention World War II, Brian. Do you
think it a coincidence that all the surplus chemicals from
warfare ended up being the very fuels for our so-called Green
Revolution? And it has never been a question of not enough
food; it’s a matter of distribution.
About five years ago, the late Donella Meadows, PhD, wrote
a powerful story for Organic Gardening magazine that covered
all the bases. We asked our friends over at OG to post it
on their website so that we could refer people to it when
questions like yours come up. So here you go, Brian: www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-5-20-908,00.html.
Arm yourself with the facts and keep helping to spread the
truth and debunk the real myth that we must continue poisoning
ourselves and our planet in order to survive.
us with comments, suggestions and questions.