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
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.