The certified organic label has helped save many generational farms and enabled people like me, who do not come from agricultural backgrounds, to become successful farmers. Organic farming has brought environmental benefits—healthier soils, freedom from toxic pesticides and herbicides—to 6.5 million acres in the U.S.
Thank you Elizabeth Hendeerson.
These dynamics and the sheer elegance - in the scientific sense - of small scale organic farming integrating with all that balanced community serves to sustain, is why I bought into a co-op. The old admonition that we have to live the change we want to see is becoming intensely more salient with every passing day.
From the article:
“It did not occur to us to consider the many ways our clear, simple statements could be twisted by people who were willing to cut corners to increase their bottom line and steal markets by underselling the farmers who observed the standards faithfully.”
And there’s yet another excelllent reason for overthrowing capitalism—the economic system based on lying, cheating, stealing and killing.
You see it on one end of the spectrum with Walmart killing thousands of smaller businesses by underselling cheap foreign. goods.
There was a retail clothier in a nearby city that had built a business over many years and was one of those stores that had been there forever.
A friends rich father set up the younger son a few doors down, fronted the son enough money to buy stock and undersell the other clothier until he went under. The son never made any profit because of selling at such a discounted price. After the dust settled the other guy went bankrupt and the rich mans son decided he didn’t like retail and quit the business and moved out of town, away from dad. That’s how the world of greed goes round.
Of course organic agriculture is under attack. It’s always under attack. Agro-chemical corporations are among the most ruthless and immoral, which, given the track record of large corporations, is saying something. They’re also among the most expansionist, having concentrated most of the world’s seed ownership and food production in a few large corporations.
Chemical industrial agriculture is the main cause of the stunning collapse in wildlife populations, especially insects, a foundation of all ecosystems. It worsens climate catastrophe by degrading and eroding soil, reducing soil fertility, using fossil fuels, using nitrogen fertilizers that put nitrous oxides and methane–both powerful GHGs–into the atmosphere. They degrade adjacent and downstream land and water, and oceans, contributing to dead zones and pollution in general. Organic, and even better, beyond organic methods sequester carbon instead of releasing it, and avoid every one of those problems. Reducing meat production will reduce GHGs and other ecological damage; using permaculture methods like edible forest gardens will increase yields even more, without the use of synthetic fertilizers or biocides.
Conventional agriculture, as practiced by ‘family farms’ is less environmentally problematic than organic.
The products used by conventional agriculture make the process more efficient.
There is however, a case to be made for REDUCING the number of acres allocated to primary production. The acres we continue to use should be our most productive, least susceptible to erosion, located where there is a suitable length of growing season, etc. All other presently farmed acres on less productive land should be re-allocated to growth of perennial plant material and trees and shrubs and ruminant animals.
Those acres on the ‘good’ land should be farmed very intensively under verifiable production practices that a consumer acquiring a breakfast cereal (as an example) can look at a serial number and trace that consumer product back to the farm where the oats, wheat etc may have been grown.
Some of your ideas sound great. But conventional agriculture IS organic (or beyond organic, which is preferable*); it’s the agriculture practiced by 99.99% of the farming generations in history. Chemical industrial farming, on the other hand, is phenomenally destructive and has to be stopped this generation if we expect civilization to survive.
Moving to beyond-organic permacultural production of food, fiber and materials will increase yields and so drastically reduce the impacts of our lives on producing and other land that wilderness will rebound and we can begin to integrate wild land with farmed and ranched land.
Putting bar codes on wheat grains is not an answer; it’s an intensified version of the produce labeling requirement that has saddled small producers with extra, out-of-proportion costs.
*The definition of organic in the US is a compromise between the desires of sane healthy people and agro-chemical corporations and the government they own, which is why beyond-organic is better.
It’s always great to know that some folks still read stuff, as I do, and every now and then someone wishes to debate. below your stuff in RED and mine in GREEN.
I had a debate once with a PETA member who called me a troll, and when I made reference to our small chicken enterprise on my home farm [65 years ago] and described the nature of our marketing from a live bird to a packaged 7 pound chicken wrapped in a plastic bag and sold in a nearby city the reaction involved a lot of name calling from an otherwise intelligent lady.
If this IS the final round of our discourse, thank you for getting back to me.
I assume the Christmas colors are coming…
No names for chickens, I just came in from checking on mine. (and ducks, and Angora rabbits. No more geese, quail, or dairy goats any more. ) Roughly where in CA? I used to travel to cities there frequently.