United Nations Calls for an End to Industrialized Farming

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Gardener holding handful of Parisienne Carrots, which are a variety of heirloom carrot. (Photo: Chiot’s Run)

In 2013, the United Nations announced that the world’s agricultural needs can be met with localized organic farms. That’s right, we do not need giant monocultures that pour, spray and coat our produce with massive amounts of poisons, only to create mutant pests and weeds while decimating pollinators and harming human health. Don’t believe the hype: We do not need genetically modified foods “to feed the world.”

From my experience, many of these – how shall we call them – “worker bees” (i.e the GMO salesmen) who work for these companies and spread this propaganda, actually believe conventional tactics are necessary to ensure food security. They’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and cannot envision another possibility. The changes threaten their very existence.

Organic agriculture, which has gone from a fringe movement to a multibillion industry, can produce high yields and withstand disaster and duress much better than chemical-reliant crops, according to reports coming out of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM), which held its 18th annual world congress in Istanbul this past October.

And a 30-year study from the Rodale Institute, showed that organic farm fields yielded 33 percent more in drought years compared with chemically managed ones.

In an article titled “Yes Organic Food Can Feed the world,” Anna Lappe, author and educator, known for her work as an expert on food systems, writes that “organic agriculture is taking off around the world, especially where it’s needed most.”

She reports that 80 percent of all organic producers are based in developing countries, with India, Uganda, Mexico and Tanzania leading the charge. To date, 162 nations are now home to certified organic farms, and in 2012, the 37.5 million hectares of farmland produced a harvest worth $63.8 billion.

Paradigm Shift

Food security, poverty, gender inequality and climate change can all be addressed if we adopt a significant paradigm shift, according to the UN’s Trade and Environment Review (TER), a 320-page report written by 63 authors from organizations around the world. They provide evidence with numerous coherent case studies and surveys.

The solution to all these interrelated problems is establishing a conglomerate of small, bio-diverse, ecological farms around the world and a localized food system that promotes consumption of local/regional produce.

“I try to raise awareness about the need to shift away from globalizing to localizing,” Helena Norberg-Hodge recently told actor and activist Russell Brand on his internet show “The Trews” (truth+news= trews). Norberg-Hodge is an analyst on the impact of the global economy and on cultures in agriculture worldwide. “Localizing is a systemic alternative that has incredible power.”

In fact, small farms are known to be two to 10 times as productive as large industrial farms and much more profitable, not just in the developing world, but also in the developed world, reports the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS).

“Smaller diversified farms employee more people and use less land and water and produce more foods,” says Norberg-Hodge in her interview with Brand. She explains that localization also shortens the distance between consumers and producers, which helps the environment and also ensures that you do not eat produce that is pretty much dead traveling such insane distances.

“Industrial agriculture and our globalized food system is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, up to 50 percent if proper account is taken of emissions from land use change and deforestation, most of which are due to agriculture, and for food-related transport, processing, storage and consumption,” writes ISIS.

Listen to the full episode “TTIP – How We’re Lied To About Food: Russell Brand.”

TTIP And A Conspiracy of Silence

Unfortunately, it is difficult to implement changes on a local or national level because there are global trade agreements that prevent us from doing so. These agreements serve giant corporations and corporate greed only.

Enter the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is a controversial series of trade negotiations currently being negotiated in secret between the European Commission and the US government in the name of so-called “free trade.” TTIP, which Brand sarcastically refers to as the “best thing to happen to planet Earth since Jesus,” has only corporations’ best interests in mind. And if it passes, corporations will literally be able to sue governments if and when they attempt to protect their citizens or our environment.

Not only does TTIP threaten our food supply and environment, but public services, workers’ rights, and online privacy as well. A story in The Independent outlines six reasons why TTIP should scare you. Or check out this TTIP infographic from Action for Solidarity Environment Equality and Diversity.

Unfortunately, we have no direct say on whether TTIP goes through or not. All we can do is get educated, tell as many people as possible and demand transparency.

Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission. Original article can be found here

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9 thoughts on “United Nations Calls for an End to Industrialized Farming

  1. Great piece, really interesting and first time I have heard about this TTIP (which I’m assuming is in America only at this stage) – but the article title is pretty misleading – but then I guess the more accurate title “ISIS calls for an end to industrialised farming” would have its own problems.

  2. The TPP is the Pacific version of the TPIP. It must NOT be signed. Corporates will take over and subsume our national laws, over which they will have precedence.
    It’s a global take-over, and no-one has been consulted, no-one voted for it.
    It must be stopped.

  3. We’ll all have to have depend on food grown without fertilisers made from fossil fuels eventually, but as far as I can till this will require more land. I wish PC people would collect good data on total yields, because until they do we need to use the data that is out there and it doesn’t look good. If you have any such data, please let me know. There is some evidence that people can get good yields on very small farms, but how do all 7+ billion of us get half a hectare each?

    1. Hi Rowan,
      the following document is a very informative booklet (it is linked here in the article of Maryam Henein ). There are two articles in it which cover mainly the topic “yields of organic farms in comparison to industrial farms (the second one describes the 30 year report from the Rodale Institute)”. The complete booklet is a very valuable source of information about organic farming and our food future.

      Food Futures Now
      *Organic *Sustainable *Fossil Fuel Free
      Mae-Wan Ho, Sam Burcher, Lim Li Ching & others
      – 9 –
      Scientists Find Organic Agriculture Can Feed the World & More
      Comprehensive study gives the lie to claims that organic agriculture cannot feed the world because it gives low yields and there is insufficient organic fertilizer Organic agriculture gives higher yields overall for the world

      – 13 –
      Organic Yields on Par with Conventional and Ahead During Drought Years, but Health and Environment Benefit Most
      A long-term farm trial in the US comparing organic and conventional management comes out in favour of organic in all respects, with the greatest benefits for health and the environment
      https://www.i-sis.org.uk/Food_Futures_Now.pdf

  4. Yes! Here in Colorado Springs where we have 18,000 acres of infill, we are aiming to building 900 farms right here in our city. Each Tiny Farm has a high tunnel for 4 season growing, an outdoor grow area, a mobile chicken unit, beehive, a couple of mini-goats and a compost facility. Here in Colorado, we own grown 2 % of our food…for the moment!

  5. Excellent article, Rodale institute supports what many people already understand. And is more proof that we need go back to more traditional methods of food production, which means nature’s way and not with artificially manipulated plants or chemicals. The secret is in the looking after our soils.

  6. Here in the UK, a campaigning organisation called 38degrees.org.uk is doing a great job getting the message out about TTIP and the potential problems it will cause. You can sign up for emails and sign their petitions. They have recently been before a government select committee to raise objections to the plans but it is tough going… They are getting the message out to people that this is not some dry legal/administrative piece of paper but something which would affect our daily lives. (I am just a supporter of 38degrees – no other connection to the organisation).

  7. Please repair your hyperlink. In the paragraph with title “Paradigm Shift”, the first sentence offers a link called “coherent case studies” pointing towards the hyperlink https://www.isis.org.uk/Paradigm_Shift_Urgently_Needed_in_Agriculture.php . It doesn’t work, it is broken. The correct hyperlink probably is https://www.i-sis.org.uk/Paradigm_Shift_Urgently_Needed_in_Agriculture.php, which corresponds to a domain name mentioned by Stephan Becker in his comment of December 9th on this webpage, and which leads to a functioning webpage.

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