Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Organic vs. Industrial Agriculture

1. Chemical-industrialized farming isn't feeding the world, and is
creating huge ecological/social issues in the process. There's no reason
to be fundamentalist about it, as all farming everywhere needs to be
transitioned to be more sustainable for land/water/people, and better
aimed at feeding everyone who needs food. Commercial, economic and trade
policies, and lack of income by so many people, distort what seems to
work and not work in food.

For an overview of how organic agriculture could improve food-short
regions, see: The Organic Green Revolution

If feeding people were really the goal, agricultural policy would be
different around the world. Growing culturally appropriate crops for
regional markets with low-input, naturally recycling fertility and
genetics would the most positive investment in upgrading human
nutritional advance.

2. At the systems level, organic agriculutre that builds soil and encourages
biodiversity delivers more diverse/profound benefits and ecological
services than farming which amounts to "agricultural sacrifice areas"
divorced from their geological surroundings.

When the measure is lifecycle carbon assessment that includes the
embedded fossil-fuel energy in fertilizer and pesticide manufacture,
along with carbon sequestered in regenerative organic systems at higher
levels than is possible with chemical no-till, organic systems can
produce more food value per acre through intensive multi-cropping not
possible when pesticides are used.

Producing corn and soybeans organically can be done with lower total
energy, a bit more labor, and with a lower GHG footprint over the life
of a rotation. See Regenerative Organic Farming: A solution to global
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