Can Organic Market Gardening Feed the World?
Topic: organic market gardening, organic farming
The old questions of capacity and productivity almost inevitably comes up when discussing the role of organic farming in the world food supply. Here's my answer:
First, with respect to the question of organic farming feeding the world, WE AREN'T FEEDING THE WORLD RIGHT NOW!!
All the best works of industrial agri-business have left millions of people starving around the world. Is this the definition of a successful model? I don't think so, but the answer from BIG Government and BIG Agriculture and BIG equipment, seed, and fertilizer companies is MORE OF THE SAME!
Is anyone stopping to ask 'why isn't this model working'? At the same time millions are starving around the world, the developed nations are facing a 'crisis' of obesity and life-style related diseases like type-II diabetes. How is this possible?
Its possible because both conditions stem from the same cause: the centralized, industrialized, agri-business industry that drives food production in a 'lowest-cost of production model'.
The cheapest possible ingredients are used, to create 'food products' that store and ship well. The industry pays only LIP SERVICE to the idea of real nutrition, by throwing a handful of artificial vitamins into the gawd-awful crap they produce.
Understand, the world does not have a FOOD problem, it has a FOOD DISTRIBUTION problem! The centralized agri-business model will NEVER feed the world, because the poor can't afford the cost of distribution. And, guess what, the cost will ONLY GO UP as oil supplies dwindle.
So, what is the answer? Simple: poor nations have to feed themselves first, BEFORE growing crops for export. They can do this using organic sustainable means and indigenous resources (take a look at Cuba for an example.)
But what about 'productivity'? First, productivity DOES NOT MATTER to the gardener trying to feed herself and her kids. The only measure that matters to her is 'do I have enough food'?
Productivity ONLY MATTERS to the industrial farmer that HAS TO GET 150 bushels of corn from an acre or he goes broke, because his cost of inputs are so high.
And second, my organic market garden of about an acre provides fresh veggies to 50 families, as well as producing organic pork and chicken for my freezer, and year-round storage vegetables for my cold cellar.
I would put that productivity up against any farm, anywhere, anytime!