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Friday, 26 October 2012

food #mythbusters - do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world?

found via

in summary

- the corporations that profit from industrial farming (those selling pesticides, fertilizers, or chemicals) have spent billions trying to convince us that because the world’s population keeps growing we need to double food production their way. 

- the industrial approach means the following: farmers stop practices that keep soil healthy and go for single crops; livestock gets crammed into polluting factories; farmers have to buy expensive inputs from ever-fewer corporations.

- and with the industrial approach pests become resistant (so more chemicals have to be used), livestock become sicker (so more drugs have to be used) and soil loses its natural fertility (so more chemical fertilizer has to be used).

- and when farmers try to sell their crops, they face only a few big buyers offering unpredictable prices. 

- but there is an alternative - state-of the-art sustainable farming

- sustainable farmers build healthy soil by planting a variety of crops and rotating them. they raise animals on the farm, not in cramped factories. they fertilize using compost and livestock or planting soil-nourishing crops. healthier plants with good crop rotation also help keep pests in check without hurting the bugs we need – like those all-important pollinators.

- plus there are other good impacts  - better topsoil, less water usage, fewer antibiotics, less toxic run off (Industrial farms degrade and erode precious topsoil, use huge amounts of water – much essentially irreplaceable from deep underground, use lots of antibiotics that leads to resistant new bacteria, and produce toxic run-off that pollutes rivers, oceans, and us)

- so the sustainable farm is better for farmers and the environment.

- and it can really feed the world. sustainable farms produce as well as industrial ones - and in drought years even better.  small farmers already grow 70% of the world’s food  - and they don't have to follow the industrial path to increase production

- industrial agriculture doesn’t reliably grow more food in the future – or even today - it requires more fossil fuels, water,and mined minerals – all of which will only get more expensive as it runs out. 

- and finally - if we don't double food production will we really go hungry?

- actually we already have almost 3,000 calories a day available for every human being on Earth – more than enough. (and that’s after wasting a third of all food grown, or not eating it directly) . 

- 1/3rd of the world’s grain is going to livestock.  In the USA the biggest crop is corn, but less than 1% of all corn planted is eaten (most goes to fuel or feed)

- so the next time someone who makes frozen pizza – or toxic pesticides – tells you there’s only one way to feed the future, tell them their story is full of holes. 

- the evidence is clear: sustainable farmers prove we all can enjoy healthy food – and we each have power to make this happen. we can redirect our own food spending and the billions in public money now going into the pockets of industrial farming corporations.

- we can stand up and speak out for sustainable farmers at home and around the world.

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