Sustainability is the Organic Movement’s Strength
In Peter Getty’s latest article on the Huffington Post, he discusses how the debate surrounding the nutrition value of organic fruits and vegetables has clouded what really matters – the effects of organic farming on the environment.
The real reason organic farming should be seen as a practical necessity is that it fosters a healthier environment. There is real data, overwhelming information that cannot be ignored. Earth is being slowly destroyed by the current state of agriculture while opponents of the organic movement cloud the discussion by attacking the nutritional content.
The organic food industry is being painted as a giant trying to topple the rights of America’s heartland farmers. Organic farmers are described as haters of free enterprise and tradition. In these ways, false motives are being created. The real motive lies in the beneficial effects organic farming will have on the environment, a hope that we can make the soil healthy again, clean the air and water for every being on the planet.
Let’s look at the data. Organic agriculture is less than 1% of the world’s farmland. So much for being a ‘giant.’ Conventional farming is doing just fine, using over six million square miles of crops. Half of the world’s fresh water is used as irrigation or for some kind of farming. If we can agree there’s a problem, it’s easy to see that the scale is large, and the impact on the planet’s environment monumental.
According to the Organic Trade Association, if all farms in the United States was organic, half a billion pounds of harmful pesticides would be prevented from entering the environment. The Rodale Institute Farming Systems held trials that concluded that if even just ten thousand medium-sized farms in the country converted to organic farming, the amount of carbon that would be stored in the soil would be astronomical. It would be the equivalent of taking over a million cars off the street, reducing driving by nearly fifteen billion miles.
With data like that, it’s hard to understand how proponents of organic farming could be seen as diabolical or anti-free commerce. This is a matter of health and awareness. This is a matter of cleaning the soil we walk on, the air we breathe.
We are all free to make our own decisions when it comes to buying organic food, but the environmental costs of business as usual are too great to maintain. It would be wise for us to at least consider these benefits, bringing about the potential of seeing a cleaner, healthier planet.