“Can Industrial Agriculture Feed The World?”

We only have a 30 year store at best of phosphorus, which creates a radioactive byproduct when mined. We’re not feeding our own people enough, making them sick with empty calories, and destroying our ecosystem at the same time.

The green revolution” epicenters are now some of the most undernourished nations. They may be doing well economically, but not doing well at feeding their citizens. India has drawn down their water table to the point that they import food from elsewhere.

The premise that organic ag is less productive than industrial is a lie. Fertilizer is produced by recycling = composting, animal waste, etc.

Multi-decade studies (Rodale Institute, for one) showed organic produces roughly equal yields with less energy input and builds organic matter in soil, which is critical.

Local organic drinks from the reception.

Our US policymakers and chemical manufacturers are still beating their drums but evidence points to the need to create sustainable methods.

ISTAAD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development) study sponsored by UN and world banks found that business as usual is not going to work. Criticized finding answers in GM seeds, brought up patent issues. Endorsed new vision of agriculture. The US, Canada & Australia pulled out during the Bush administration. No attention in US press, but Tom wrote about it.

Another FAO report with similar findings was published, also ignored by press, read Tom’s post here.

If we don’t cut down on greenhouse gases, there will be climate change, and it will be disastrous, scientists say.

I’m not saying if you buy my product I’m going to solve all your problems (as an agrochemical executive would). There are no easy solutions to this problem. The power of the agri-business lobby to buy the political power to walk away unscathed and maintain the status quo. This is the challenge of young folks in this room – to fight that and change that.

One of the biggest lies of all is that organic food is a luxury that can only feed the rich – a fantastic marketing job.

Eric Schlosser – Fast Food Nation author – as quoted from a recent essay:

“Pesticides are poisons. They have been carefully designed to kill insects, weeds, funguses, and rodents. But they can also kill human beings. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that every year, 10,000 to 20,000 farm workers suffer acute pesticide poisoning on the job — and that’s a conservative estimate. Farm workers, their children, and the rural communities where they live are routinely exposed to these toxic chemicals. And what are the potential, long-term harms of the pesticides now being sprayed on our crops? Brain damage, lung damage, cancers of the breast, colon, lung, pancreas, and kidney, birth defects, sterility, and other ailments.”

People who work with these pesticides are getting sick.

” A food system based on poverty and exploitation will never be sustainable”.

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. UNC Kenan-Flagler Sustainability Blog » From Shared Tables: “Can Industrial Agriculture Feed The World?”:

    [...] post written by Marcie Barnes for Greenetarians.com – live from the Shared Tables 2/28/12 keynote on UNC’s [...]

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