By: CELINA ARZOLA
From consumers to farmers and scientists to international organizations, many people believe that the organic agricultural movement can produce enough nutritious food to feed the world without destroying the environment, while being more resilient to climate change and improving the livelihoods of farmers.
Organic farms provide higher biodiversity, hosting more bees, birds, and butterflies. They also have higher soil and water quality and emit fewer greenhouse gases. For consumers in countries with weak pesticide regulations, like India, organic food reduces pesticide exposure. Organic ingredients also most likely have slightly higher levels of some vitamins and secondary metabolites.
Organic agriculture is typically more profitable — up to 35% more, according to a meta-analysis of studies across North America, Europe, and India — than conventional farming. Organic also provides more rural employment opportunities because organic management is more labor-intensive than conventional practices. For workers, though, the biggest advantage is that organic decreases their exposure to toxic agrochemicals.
Over the past 50 years, organic farms have provided conventional agriculture with examples of new ways to farm and act as a testing ground for a different set of management practices, from diversifying crop rotations and composting using cover crops and conservation tillage. Conventional agriculture has neglected these sustainable practices for too long.
Everyone can learn from successful organic farms and help improve 99% of agriculture that’s feeding the world today.