Local & Organic Farming
April 24, 2011 Comments Off on Local & Organic Farming
In spite of all this buzz about the environment we are rarely reminded that harsh practices of agriculture results in the worlds largest in producing pollutants. According to research by the World Resources Institute agriculture is mankind’s biggest contributor to climate change, generating 26% of greenhouse gas emissions. Feeding the increasingly fast growing population is becoming to be unsustainable for our planet. This leaves the hunt to search for healthy, sustainable, yet scalable & profitable alternatives to our unsustainable food & agriculture sectors.
With the giant boom of interest in organics, organic food has enjoyed double digit growth in the past two decades & expected to grow to over 100 billion globally by 2015. Yet, unfortunately organic agriculture in the US accounts for only 1% of all farmland today.
We cannot forever feed ourselves on fossil fuels, deforestation, & green house emissions. Today’s food and agriculture practices consume enormous amounts of fossil fuel for transportation, operation of farm machinery, and chemical production of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides: roughly 10 calories of fossil fuel go into every calorie of food we eat, representing 19% of all U.S. energy consumption.
Agriculture emits greenhouse gases with an order of magnitude worse global-warming potency than CO2, such as methane (from intensive livestock operations and rice fields) and nitrous oxide (from fertilizers and factory farm waste lagoons). Another agricultural emission, nitric oxide, is the main driver of the new acid rain that is killing forests and fish. Run-off of excess fertilizer from cropland and excess manure from factory farms is the primary cause of enormous aquatic dead zones in coastal waters globally, devastating marine life (and ironically, threatening human seafood supply). These marine dead zones in aggregate represent 95,000 square miles (about 20 times larger than the area impacted by last year’s BP oil spill).
One way to reduce the carbon footprint of our food is by eating locally & organic grown food, & reducing the fuel spent on transportation. Summer time is near which means heading down to your local farmers market and grabbing a delicious apple that actually tastes like an apple (weird right?). Start buying food that is made with locally sourced ingredients and made the way that food should be, free of chemicals, pesticides, & enzymes that speed up the natural process. We cannot feed ourselves forever on the current system. The time for developing more sustainable alternatives is right now.