If you can count as successes increased greenhouse gases, ecosystem degradation, rises in hunger and obesity, and unbalanced power in food systems, then industrial agriculture has done one heck of a job.
Hey, maybe the DoJ should read this article and look into the research backing this statement of fact BEFORE ruling on the merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont...two of the world's largest factory farm holdings (along with the manufacture of myriad chemicals...what a marriage: chemicals and growing crops). Just sayin'
But, but but ...
Monsanto and Hillary Clinton say that this Industrial Agriculture and the GMO Industry is good for America.
Who are you going to believe?
Overwhelming evidence from independent scientists
the corporations and politicians who directly benefit financially from this Industrial Agriculture?
-"Today's food and farming systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of foods to global markets, but are generating negative outcomes on multiple fronts: widespread degradation of land, water and ecosystems; high GHG emissions; biodiversity losses; persistent hunger and micro-nutrient deficiencies alongside the rapid rise of obesity and diet-related diseases; and livelihood stresses for farmers around the world."-
All true. But what would happen if we stopped using these pesticides and artificial fertilizers? Starvation?
No, probably restoration of the many dying ecosystems now siege from this industrial aberration. The Mid-West is rapidly turning into an expanse of green deserts, devoid of nearly all life forms save those selected varieties of commodity crops and the miserable captives hidden in CAFOs. Same can be said of the Grand Chaco and places elsewhere on the planet.
A year or two ago, Norman Borlaug, the Father of the Green Revolution, was mythologized in the Capitol Building with his own statue to effusive praise about the millions of lives he purportedly saved in India by introducing hybrid wheat, extensive irrigation, and the extensive use of fossil fuel derived fertilizers and pesticides.
Today, these three techniques have led to the loss of crop diversity, a precipitous drop in ground water levels, millions of hectares of infertile soil, outbreaks of insect pests, and herbicide resistant weeds.
One of the greatest crimes against humanity happening almost without notice in Africa is what is being marketed as AGRA--Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. This is a blatant attempt to replace agroecological farming systems with industrial agriculture promoted by the chemical agriculture industry--Monsanto, Syngenta, Yara International--along with the Gates and Rockefeller foundations in complicity with USAID.
You might want to reread bystander's post.
Emphatically, no. Industrial agriculture leads to higher profits for a few people, not increased production of nutrition. Industrial agriculture also does not measure costs by the amount of energy, labor, or other resources are required to produce food, but only by the profit | loss as measured in federal currencies. These do not often correspond.
Even the measure in currencies is only to those who own the property or business, not to other interests. It does no accounting for the great majority of real costs because these are externalized. So, just as an example, the decision to plant GMO corn with the near-requisite Monsanto chemical fertilier, fungicide, herbicide, and pesticide to get, say, more of a single crop in a single season does not take into account the loss of productivity in the land ad infinitum, nor the loss in value to the neighbor's corn, whose heirloom seed is contaminated by the windblown pollen and becomes sterile. Nor does it take into account the loss of nutrition to less diverse and less nutrition-dense foods, nor the toxicity of the products into the food of humans, nor the effects of the toxins on the downstream watershed, the subsequent loss of rain as the watershed goes bare, and so on.
Sadly, often tragically, it is not always possible under current social conditions to ignore money factors in order to farm and to distribute food in ways that are ecologically efficient, labor efficient, and energy efficient--and effective. A few goons own and profit, this is called production because these things are measured in dollars, not in wealth, and we continue.
By contrast, small households on suburban and often urban lands can grow the majority of food for their inhabitants--quite certainly, though I refrain from saying "easily" because there is a distinct learning curve involved, and of 2016 most Western urbanites do not have the know-how, at least for the moment. There are also tremendous opportunities for communities to farm the land of churches, schools, civic areas, and parks.
There are now abundant examples of tremendous, really impressive successes in all major climates. Almost all of the really significant difficulties have to do with people getting used to the ideas, and particularly with getting access to land, since we Westerners are hamstrung by antique concepts of ownership.
It's hard to know where to start with examples. I would look at Organoponics, Geoff Lawton's Greening the Desert, John Liu's work. David Holmgren. And there are more.
I'm a farmer. We all know there are massive, inherent problems with world agriculture. While some improvements have been made such as banning or limiting some of the most toxic pesticides, reducing unsustainable erosion somewhat, and increasingly providing somewhat better protection for our rivers, we must do better. Of course we farmers HATE having the dang government tell us how to farm. There is no reason to think that we can not do better, but it is going to be a long, and often painful process.
Tom, I don't see capitalism ever disappearing. Greed is too basic to the human mind. There is no reason why we can not meld a strong socialistic and communalistic element into capitalism, however.
This is a "social policy" problem, a problem of our societies structure.
There are multitudes of people who would love to be agroecologists and small sustainable farms, almost everyone has contemplated doing it on some level. Buy social controls put in place prevent them, the use of the dept trap, overly expensive land and the fear of falling through the cracks of society where by you will have little or no social safety net and run afoul of the almighty "credit score " which can in and of itself force you into homelessness and joblessness.
This is has been proven wrong over and over in multitudes of studies and real world experiences for 200,000 years.
Altruism and egalitarianism form a genetic and cerebral base for our species.
Farmer, I do not disagree with your last sentence. Humans are filled with many emotions.
A genetic and cerebral basis does not imply "emotions".
Transforming the food system is one of the main themes of the Movement and making the Great Transition. Fortunately, making this shift can be significantly enhanced by people working in their own communities, households, and on themselves (e.g., shifting to an agroecological approach to farming, small, organic, sustainable farms, community gardens, supporting and consuming locally produced foods, changing our (USA) eating habits to more of plant-based diets and less on factory farm produced meat and dairy, initiating community and regionally-based food councils to shift policy).
Um, okay. That's certainly one simplistic take on things. How then would you explain the high usage of pesticides and herbicides in Russia during the Soviet period, the history of sugar monoculture in Cuba and the high levels of agricultural pollutants in China? As bad as it is in the west, it's even worse in many non-capitalist states. For example, China uses so much pesticide that bees are virtually extinct and many crops have to be hand pollinated. Thanks to farm run off and overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, over 15% of Chinese waterways are too polluted to drink from. In one spectacular case in 2013 over 2,800 pigs were fished out of a tributary of the Shanghai River (the source of drinking water for 23 million people).
If anything, these countries are 40 years behind the US in terms of environmental regulation. To say they are somehow better (or that the root cause is capitalism) is nonsense.
Ah, but profit, in the concept sense, is a good thing. When a person in business for self does something good for other people, then the amount of money that person receives, minus costs, is profit. The better the good that is done, the better (higher) the profit received. While someone who F*sU* has to pay damages and gets no profit at all, suffers a big loss.
And you value an organic peach more, and you are willing to pay the organic orchard man more in order to get one.
I like the idea of hatchery aquaponics. Millions of playtub-sized hatcheries filled with little tiny salmon, generating rich fertilizer while replenishing river stock. Just came up with that one.
One guy at least swears he's been farming without water or fertilizer -- kinda -- for 30 years. Probably 40 by now since the film "Back to Eden" came out (warning: zealous religous book-pointing ahead).
He covers his fields with thick layers of tree mulch. So in any environment some kind of useful mushroom could be grown on the fresh mulch -- just pepper the mulch with the right kind of spores first, and add enought water if necessary. Even without doing that some mushroom and another will go to work freeing the nitrogen from the wood, while providing lush areas for root growth and the soil bacteria have an ideal, moist, warm, nutrient-rich environment as well. Weeds that grow from the surface are removed with gentle agitation via rock rake -- not a hoe. Weeds from underneath are prevented by an initial layer of newspaper on the soil beneath the mulch. So while you bring in the crop of mushrooms your mulch is turning into rich compost. The mycelium will thrive, continuing the process, although requiring supplemental tree mulch over time. Disadvantages: using newspaper, getting mulch, and reapplying mulch. Advantages: for one, the disadvantages are minimized since it encourages mass newspaper recycling, mulch from tree trimmings is available now and supplementable, and applying mulch sounds just a step more difficult than watering, but with the right equipment, easy, and further: eliminate or reduce/specialize fertilizer use, easy hand-weeding lmakes the prospect more feasible, and even lends itself well to automation since no great force is required, and the surface only has to be gently disturbed by the little weed rumba or whatever in order to remove the weeds -- nothing at all like hoeing -- the soil health is promoted, and last but not least, these little farmlets are close to houses, so no funky toxi-poodunk coming out of the spray spritzers, there, Old McDonald.
Ozonated water can be used as an insecticide -- a guy was doing it with grapes as a trade -- he was the ozonated water guy, based on a years-old article I read. He was getting resistance of every kind from every angle. He's out there in stuff that is only active for a few hours and is totally nontoxic at lower concentrations being hampered by regulations that don't exist, as the stuff is being "regulated" as an insecticide because, admittedly, it's being used as such. In the meantime, up to certain concentrations plants tolerate it just fine, and it's like spraying the bugs and their eggs with bleach. You could install little solar ozone generators in the field, and your little spray rumbas could refill on-the-go, and that's your insecticide. Put the rake attachment on back for the full-service herbicidal/insecticidal Terminator Rumba. It doesn't sound that far-fetched.
Just thought I'd throw that out there.