Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Organic Farming Superior to Industrial Agriculture

In Around the web on September 28, 2011 at 7:19 am

From RODALE INSTITUTE

Organic farming is superior to conventional agriculture according to 30-year comparative study

Rodale Institute today announces the latest results of the Farming Systems Trial, America’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming practices. Originally created to study the transition from conventional to organic production, this 30-year study also examined productivity, soil quality, energy and economics.

Key findings show:

• Organic yields match or surpass conventional yields.
• Organic yields outperform conventional yields in years of drought.
• Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
• Organic farming uses 45 percent less energy and is more efficient. • Conventional agricultural systems produce 40 percent more greenhouse gases.
• Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional farming systems.

After 30 years of a rigorous side-by-side comparison, the Rodale Institute confidently concludes that organic methods are improving the quality of our food, the health of our soils and water, and the conditions of our nation’s rural areas. Organic agriculture creates more jobs, provides a livable income for farmers, and can restore America’s confidence in our farming community and food system.

“America’s farming techniques affect the health of our families, our communities, and our planet. The Farming Systems Trial shows that organic farming is the healthiest and safest way to feed the world, provide much-needed jobs, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect precious natural resources,” says Mark “Coach” Smallwood, Executive Director of Rodale Institute.

“The Farming Systems Trial clearly documents in a replicated, scientific fashion, that many of the current myths are not true. Organic agriculture does not result in the grower losing money, does not result in lower yields, or more expensive management practices,” says Dr. Elaine Ingham, Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute. “The next step forward is to educate growers, whether they are conventional or organic, in the methods used in the Farming Systems Trial to assure equal or better yields through farming practices that do not harm the environment.”

The trial is slated to continue with a new focus on nutrition and human health. “We have shown that organic can feed the world. Now it is time to take on the matter of feeding the world well,” said Smallwood.

For more information on the results, including detailed findings and graphs, please visit http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst. ~~

  1. This report is a really big deal, a game changer. It leaves all arguments in favor of industrial agriculture “in the dirt.” The report confirms the imperative for locally grown food and the resiliency and sustainability it provides. But now a second layer, reduced health costs and increased wealth creation become benefits that any political concervative can embrace.

    Perhaps we need to explore a tax incentive, say a reduction in local property taxes, if a property owner can show that her backyard garden is providing her family with at least 1/3 of their food needs and/or is being sold locally, or being given away to the local food bank or Plowshares. This is not back to land, this is back to smart.

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