Can Organic Farming Feed Us All? WorldWatch Live


Now ain't that a topical question? Last month a senior Worldwatch researcher, Brian Haliwell, braved a Q&A; on this vexatious issue. The enquiries and responses make for fascinating reading. Early on he notes, "We are not simply talking about a transition away from sy[n]thetic fertilizers and pesticides, but a transition to a different sort of food system. I think that the philosophy of organic agriculture is closer to this food system--more equity, more healthy foods and fewer processed foods, more interaction between farmer and eater." In other points we learn that Australia has the world's largest area of organic crop under cultivation, but Europe has the most per land share, and per value. Towns in Germany and the US have bought up vacant land and made it freely available to groups on the proviso they farm it organically. Elsewhere he notes, "While there may be losses to the agrochemical industry, organic farming actually costs society much less in terms of pollution to water ways, soil erosion, and wildlife deaths." And this, "several studies have shown that organically grown crops have higher nutrient levels." After being barraged with questions from Romania to Brazil, from Malawi to Texas, Brian is eventually put on the spot, 'Do I buy non-organic San Diego tomatoes from 30 mins away, or organic Chilean ones?', and gives this answer: "In this respect, local has many advantages over organic, wherever it comes from." Worldwatch Live.