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Organic Consumers Association

A Twenty-year Vision for Organic Agriculture

  • By Bob Scowcroft, Amigo Bob Cantisano, Michael Ableman, Gary Hirshberg, and Theresa Marquez
    Bioneers, June
    Straight to the Source

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource page, Organic Transitions page, All About Organics page, and our farm Issues page.


Responding to questions like this presumes some basic assumptions, like any one of us would have the sense of "sight" required to assess the incredible variables in human consumption, resource allocation, government decisions and corporate accountability nature will throw at us in the context of agriculture. We do know for sure that everything is connected. As I write this, four nuclear power plants are in various stages of meltdown in Japan, near genocidal wars are underway in the Ivory Coast and Libya with religious conflagrations simmering across Asia and the Middle East. Climate change is clearly impacting food production in some parts of the world (mostly noticeable by the increase of extreme weather events) leading to import/export disruptions and in a few cases food riots. The industrial world's first response: silver bullet genetic engineering of cross species gene transplants to grow profit centers not food. Here in the United States radicals in the Republican Party have pledged to cut a significant number of critical safety nets for the poor, elderly, unwell and students. Hunger is growing by leaps and bounds.

Now do I have your attention?

It is within that context I wish to offer an organic vision of hope for the next two decades. I see organic farming and ranching as an integrated system modeling the complex web of natural systems as it takes root. All parties will come to celebrate the fertile soil that surrounds them. There will be ecological food hubs linking urban mini-farms with the surrounding countryside. Taking advantage of this indigenous system of organic production will be an educational system that inspires K-12 students to become young cooks and learn more about nutritional balance and preventive health care. New jobs will be created in food transport and processing. Trading collaborations will be established to reach outside of nearly full circle sustaining regional food sheds for national and even international organic products. If grey whales can migrate to Mexico and back within nature's system of ecological balance, I see no reason why organic fruits and nuts can't be exchanged for bananas and coffee elsewhere in the hemisphere. Distance traveled must be flexible and provide multiple benefits to all.  


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