The power of small-scale, organic farms

Photo credit: Food Tank

Some say it takes all kinds. Not Florence Reed, who argues that we can feed the world without big agriculture and GMOs.
Sustainable Harvest International

No, It Does Not Take All Kinds of Farming to Feed the World

This is a guest article by Florence Reed, founder and president of Sustainable Harvest International.

I grew up in a diversity-loving community. The old adage “it takes all kinds” was written into my blood…until I said it to a new acquaintance.

“No,” he replied. “There are some kinds we could really do without.”

And he’s right. We could do without many kinds of people.

I think the same is true of farming practices—but I have been hearing something different. I first came across the “It-Takes-All-Kinds-of-Farming” theory at the 2014Camden Conference. The message that came out of one panel was that organic farming is fine, but that we need all kinds of agriculture if we are going to feed the world.

To which I say: No. It does not take all kinds.

We can feed the world without the kind of farming that depends on managing weeds with toxic chemicals rather than with mulch and weeding. According to anew assessment by the World Health Organization, glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was found to probably be carcinogenic to humans. We don’t need that. We don’t need costly chemical fertilizers that slowly destroy soil’s ability to grow crops while exacerbating climate change.

In fact, I would say we do not need any new farming technologies until they are rigorously tested and proven harmless. Not when we have an arsenal of inexpensive sustainable techniques at our fingertips that can improve soil, protect the environment, and produce a high yield—without doing any harm.

Read the full article: Food Tank


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.