Cornucopia’s Take: Organic farming plays an important role in sequestering carbon, building soil fertility, conserving water, providing high-nutrient food, and mitigating the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Industrial farms pump out billions of bushels of GMO corn and soy to feed sick livestock in massive CAFOs to flood markets with cheap bacon, hamburger, milk, and eggs. Still, 80% of the food in the world is produced on family farms. Feeding the world’s growing population will require the creativity of scientists and local farmers working with the resources available to them regionally. Support the farmers in your foodshed who feed our communities without poisoning them.
Can we ditch intensive farming – and still feed the world?
by Fiona Harvey
From urban farming to drones, innovation can help fill the gap between production and consumption
Why do we need to grow more food?
Food production around the world must rise by half in the next 30 years to sustain a global population expected to top 10 billion by 2050.
Compared with 2010, an extra 7,400tn calories will be needed a year in 2050. If food production increases along current lines, that would require a landmass twice the area of India.
These are the findings of a report published in December by the World Resources Institute on the “food gap” between current production and growing consumption.
So we need to find more land to cultivate then?
Bringing more land under agricultural production is one answer to filling this gap, but it cannot solve the problem alone. Finding that amount of land in suitable conditions would spell the end for many of the earth’s remaining forests, peatlands and wild areas, and release the carbon stored in them, hastening climate change.
Intensive farming has already had a huge effect on biodiversity and the environment worldwide. Pesticides, which have helped boost cereal and fruit production, have also killed bees and myriad species of insects in large numbers.
Fertilisers that have improved poor soils have also had unintended harmful consequences. The largest ever maritime “dead zone” was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico last year, the result of fertiliser and manure from the meat industry running off the land. Chemical fertilisers also contribute directly to climate change, through the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and to air pollution through ammonia. Read Full Article »