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The True Root of Hunger: The Economics of Organic Farming


The True Root of Hunger: The Economics of Organic Farming

Mark 'Coach' Smallwood

It may surprise many readers to know that producing enough food is not responsible for world hunger — we already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. Hunger is caused by economic inequality. Despite this fact, the farming industry often cites the need to feed a growing population to justify the use of toxic, synthetic chemicals used in conventional farming.


The Lancet in its Global Health online journal this week published an eye-opening study that compared the national diets of 187 countries over a 20-year period (1990-2010). Many countries in Africa that rely on peasant organic farmers for the majority of their food consistently ranked higher than western countries in the quality of their diet. Countries we think of as impoverished like Chad, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Somalia all had healthier diets (they ate more healthy food and less unhealthy food) than western countries.


The same holds true in South America. Small farmers provide 70% of the food that peoples eat.
I also read the Coach’s noting that “Using biology rather than chemistry, organic farmers MIMIC natural systems to promote healthy soil as the foundation for healthy food and, ultimately, healthy people.”
I would add that the practice is also one of BIOME RESTORATION, a mandate that will be facing future generations, but not yet always linked to current concerns in media.
The knowledge obtained only by a generation engaging in the cultivation practices, in all the variability of micro climates, biomes AND markets, is like a 21st century open university in agroecology and societal equilibrium.


Also of note, the KIND of obesity now being seen was a rare occurrence a generation or two ago. Now it’s showing up not just across the U.S. but also in Puerto Rico, the U.K. and no doubt other “modern” zones. Some of the problem is borne of sedentary lifestyles but that’s hardly the whole story. Yesterday’s office worker didn’t balloon to 500 pounds and counting.

A huge culprit in this heavy-weight phenomenon is processed food, and chief among its contestants for the “honor” of adding girth is corn syrup, a Monsanto favorite.

The child who starts life as the “fat kid” often maintains emotional scar tissue for life. And even though obesity is now so pronounced that probably 40% of kids experience it, the extra weight still stymies sports, self-esteem and social standing for all but a lucky few.

In other words, the adulteration of food is but another crime against humanity.

Naturally. organic is more cost-effective. Mother Nature will not be mocked… for long!


The apparent productivity of commercial, chemical farming is temporary. It uses up the soil, and before too long their will not be enough to plant in. Also it uses more water than organics.

Organic farming, and especially permaculture, build the soil, so that every year it is richer.
Organic farming, however, requires intelligent workers who have to be paid appropriately. So it is not as corporate - profitable as single crop farms that only require hired “hands.” To say nothing of the chemical, fuel and fertilizer industries.

People don’t realize that corporate agriculture spews more carbon into the atmosphere than does transportation. Truly a crime against humanity, in so many ways.