August 10, 2016 - Organic Farming Could Feed the World, If Only We Would Let It



Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - For many years, the prevailing perception has been that organic farming cannot produce the sort of yields needed to provide food for the world’s population.

The D.C.-based environmental advocacy group, Friends of the Earth recently released a new report that sheds new light on the subject. The report points out that crop yields shouldn’t be the only criteria by which we evaluate any given crop’s success.

John Reganold, a professor of soil science and agroecology at Washington State University, points out that a crop’s yield is just one of four metrics by which it should be considered sustainably productive.  Equally important, he argued, is whether a crop is environmentally safe, economically viable to the farmer and socially responsible — by paying its workers well, for example.

When organic farming practices are compared to conventional practices using all four of those metrics, the FOE report argues, the organic practices hold a considerable advantage.

The report also indicated that increased food production is needed to feed the growing world is a myth.   Research published in the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture in 2012 found that the world’s farmers already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people.

Despite that tremendous productivity, an estimated 795 million people on earth — about one in nine people — do not have enough food to lead healthy, active lives.  The reason for that gap is that hunger has less to do with supply and more to do with poverty and a lack of equal access to land, water and other necessary resources.

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