Support Organic Farming: Eat locally grown foods
When you talk about eating organic, it is not about eating less meat or not being able to eat what we love. It is about eating what is available in local businesses and markets, which has not traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to reach our tables.
Basically, eating organic is about being self-sufficient at the family, community and country level, rather than importing fruits, vegetables and, grains, for example.
Consider the following case:
If a developed country moved to organic farming alone overnight, it could reduce its CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20%.
But, given current organic production systems, harvests would be cut by half. So, common wisdom would tell you that people either undergo a drastic diet or they will have to import food from outside and, therefore, cause others to issue the emissions they did not.
Those are the main results of one of the few national studies on a possible complete transition to 100% organic. But there are experts who argue that you can escape the dilemma by betting on a more rational and efficient consumption, banishing the high percentage of food that ends up in the trash.
The study, published this in Nature Communications, modeled the yields of the 12 main agricultural products and the six cattle farmers in England and Wales and the emissions that they carry. In total, they account for 98% of the cultivated land.
The authors used official statistics from the British Government and did not have complete data from other members of the United Kingdom, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
To obtain their results, they took into account all inputs and externalities of production: from fuels consumed per unit of product, -a liter of milk, a kilogram of wheat-, to methane emissions from manure.
The results of the work question the opportunity for a change: Using the same land, the 7 million tons of wheat provided by conventional agriculture would be reduced to 3.5 million.
The oilseed crop would practically disappear from England, going from half a million tons to 46,000. Milk production would be reduced by one third and pork production by three thirds.
Potatoes, carrots or onions would increase their yields with organic production systems clearly while beef and lamb would rise slightly. But egg production would fall to a fifth and that of chicken meat in more than 70%. Totals are from 2010, the last year when data was fully available.
In total, the yield of all these tons measured in metabolizable energy, the net energy of food available to humans or animals through digestion, would be reduced by almost 40%. If the metric is the proteins offered, the percentage would approach 36%.
“Agriculture in England and Wales is most intensive, at levels comparable to those of France, Germany, and other European countries,” says Guy Kirk, the professor of the group of agricultural soils of the University of Cranfield and co-author of this study.
So the transition to an organic economy would lead to a drastic reconversion of the English countryside, with a marked decrease in yields. That would be true ONLY if countries thought about agriculture and raising animals for mass consumption.
The positive thing about these data is that, in parallel, GHG emissions of the English countryside would also decrease. Overall, organic crops would reduce the contribution of English agriculture to climate change by a quarter.
Meanwhile, the improvement of organic farming would be more modest, 4%. There are other advantages that the study mentions, but it does not address, such as the positive impact that ecological has on biodiversity or on health, by avoiding the use of chemical pesticides.
So, the questions is, should we all go organic?
The answer is absolutely! The global decrease in food availability can be completely erased by producing food locally so that local consumers can buy it. That’s the way it was 40 or 50 years ago and no one ran out of food at local markets.
Sure, it is nice to have peaches all year long, but importing them from Chile while the weather in your country is not favorable for cultivating them causes a lot of problems.
So, how about finding innovative ways to cultivating them, even in the winter?
No one will go hungry if new innovative techniques are applied when cultivating crops. Some foods that we love and that now are imported from other regions of the country or even other countries can be harvested in controlled environments so that we don’t need to import them.
The answer to hunger and malnutrition has been staring at everyone on the face for a long time: The development of local, regional and national agricultural systems that people can employ to grow their own food all year round.
Let’s give ingenuity and innovation a chance!
The best way to adapt and to mitigate the possible lack of food is to cultivate it and harvest it ourselves. If you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty, then support those who produce food locally, especially if it is organic food.
Avoid going to supermarkets where food has been brought from far away and applied a lot of chemicals to keep it shiny.
Planting and eating organic not only makes sure that you will eat food that is nutritious, but also guarantee that the environment will be spared from pesticides and herbicides that pollute the land, the water, and the air.
Having better nutrition is in your hands.