I found this post about how organic farming can indeed feed the world quite interesting. It goes so contrary to the old claims that pesticides and chemical fertilizers are the only way to produce enough food for the entire world.
There are two reports on this, one from the University of Michigan, the other from the USDA. There’s a good summary on the NewScientist website. The most interesting part is that while organic methods would decrease food production somewhat in developed nations, in developing countries organic farming could increase food production by as much as 80%.
It won’t necessarily be easy, of course. From the NewScientist article:
Carl Pray, at University of Rutgers, New Jersey, US, says there is good evidence that small-scale farming in developing countries is more efficient. This is probably because small farms put more effort in the precise management of small areas of land.
But, he says, “the likelihood of all farms reverting to ‘small farmerdom’ is a big question in an age in which labour is becoming more and more expensive. Take China and India, for instance: the demand for labour is such that people are continually being pulled out of the countryside”.
In some ways this doesn’t surprise me too much, and I’d love to see the theory tested. I know how well my garden has thrived this year, with nothing but compost for fertilizer. The soil seems greatly improved. We’re fighting the heat right now, but that happens no matter what techniques you use.
I don’t expect to ever be doing a full blown farm; a backyard garden is quite sufficient for the amount of food I’m interested in tending.
But I think that we can all encourage organic farming practices. Join a food co-op. Go to farmer’s markets. Choose organic produce at the grocery store if it’s within your budget.
If it’s hard for you to figure out how to go more organic in your life, keep reading up on it. Visit Amazon to find titles that meet your needs. You can buy them or check them out at your library if you’re not going to be referring back to the book repeatedly.
The more we can encourage organic farming, whether by sharing the results of this study with people who can act upon it, the more it will continue to take hold. We can also continue to focus on a more organic and earth-friendly way of living in our own homes and families. Both small and large changes help.