Can Organic Farming Replace Modern Agriculture?
The primary distinction between organic and conventional farming is that conventional farming uses chemicals to combat pests and weeds and to supply plant nutrition. Synthetic insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are included. Organic farming, on the other hand, depends on natural principles such as biodiversity and composting to provide healthy, abundant food.
“Normal creation isn’t just the repugnance of traditional engineered wellsprings of data, nor is it the substitution of customary commitments for manufactured ones,” according to the makers. Organic farmers use techniques that were first used thousands of years ago, such as crop rotations and the utilization of composted animal manures and green manure crops, in economically sustainable ways in today’s environment. The interaction of management methods is the primary focus in organic production, with an emphasis on total system health. Organic farmers use a variety of ways to increase and sustain biological diversity and soil fertility.”
The effects of conventional and organic agricultural methods on the environment and humans are not the same. Conventional agriculture increases greenhouse gas emissions, causes soil erosion, pollutes water, and endangers human health. Organic farming has a lower carbon footprint, conserves and improves soil health, replenishes natural ecosystems for cleaner water and air, and does it without the use of hazardous pesticides.
Current Research Challenges
Studies indicating that organic yields are unequivocally lower are typically short-term, collecting data over only a couple of years. Long-term research on the differences between organic and conventional farming is severely lacking. The long-term study is the only way to accurately reflect changes in soil health, weather patterns, and pest and disease cycles, providing a more complete picture of reality.
Our Farming Systems Trial, which began in 1981, is North America’s longest-running side-by-side organic and conventional trial. According to our data:
- In drought, organic systems produce up to 40% higher yields.
- Organic methods use 45% less energy and do not leech hazardous chemicals into waterways.
- Organic produce 40% less greenhouse gas emissions.
- Organic farming generates 3-6 times more profit for farmers.
The Farming Systems Trial, on the other hand, is limited. Our climate in Pennsylvania does not mirror global growing conditions. As a result, we are expanding our research and replicating the trial in additional areas.
Not to be wasted
Last but not least, before we seek drastic increases in food production, we must address food waste. Despite the fact that we grow enough to feed the current population, more than 800 million people are hungry today. Poverty, natural disasters, political turmoil, and other circumstances make it difficult for many people to obtain nutritious food.
The majority of food waste occurs in affluent countries, where we waste nearly as much as Sub-Saharan Africa’s entire net production each year. While infrastructure and supply chain upgrades are required, there is still much we can do as individuals. Here are some suggestions:
- Select unappealing produce. Every day, large amounts of retail food are discarded due to cosmetic abnormalities and blemishes.
- Compost. With a little time and work, about a quarter (22%) of all landfill garbage can be converted into nutritious soil. Get our backyard composting cheatsheet by clicking here.
- Make your own. When you put forth the effort to nurture something, you are less likely to discard it.
- Shopping and cooking should be done with the purpose of utilizing everything you buy and create. At the restaurant, split your entrée. Compost the scraps.
Our rising population requires farming practices that preserve and regenerate resources while producing nutritious food, rather than ways that use more chemicals and pollute the environment in order to grow more corn to feed more feedlot animals.
The truth is that organic food can feed the entire globe! Organic can compete with conventional yields and outperform them in harsh weather conditions. Small farmers that use organic methods have enormous potential to increase world food production. Organic approaches, on the other hand, actively replenish resources while protecting the environment from pollution and hazardous waste. We cannot afford anything less for a healthy future.