Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Unsustainability of Organic Farming

By Henry I. Miller and Richard Cornett June 13, 2014

“Sustainable” has become one of the buzzwords of the twenty-first century. Increasing numbers of universities offer courses or even programs in “sustainability,” and many large companies boast substantial departments devoted to the subject. In April, many of the iconic multinational companies in the agriculture/food sector were represented at a three-day “Sustainable Product Expo,” convened by Wal-Mart – the largest retailer in the United States – at its Arkansas headquarters.
But, as with many vague, feel-good concepts, “sustainability” contains more than a little sophistry. For example, sustainability in agriculture is often linked to organic farming, whose advocates tout it as a “sustainable” way to feed the planet’s rapidly expanding population. But what does “sustainable” really mean, and how does it relate to organic methods of food production?
The organic movement’s claims about the sustainability of its methods are dubious. For example, a recent study found that the potential for groundwater contamination can be dramatically reduced if fertilizers are distributed through the irrigation system according to plant demand during the growing season; organic farming, however, depends on compost, the release of which is not matched to plant demand. Moreover, though composting receives good press as a “green” practice, it generates a significant amount of greenhouse gases (and is often a source of pathogenic bacteria in crops)......To Read More....

1 comment:

  1. It is all to do with business practices and investor greed , and incompetence . The words green , ecology , etc etc are all misused .
    As most of the world citizens and governments and NGOs now live in cities , they should shut up about ecology , sustainability as they now nothing about nature any more . Unless you live outside cities your knowledge of nature and the world is very limited and distorted .