FILE – In this Nov. 1, 2005, file photo, workers tend an organic farm in Bolinas, Calif. With organic food growers reporting double-digit growth in U.S. sales each year, producers are challenging a proposed California pest-management program they say enshrines a pesticide-heavy approach for decades to come, including compulsory spraying of organic crops at the state’s discretion. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

new report from researchers at the Friends of the Earth admits that crop yields are, on average, currently smaller with organic farming than industrial farming, that doesn’t have to be the case.

The report, released Tuesday by the D.C.-based environmental advocacy group, goes on to argue that crop yields shouldn’t be the only metric by which we should evaluate any given crop’s success.

In a conference call Tuesday, John Reganold, a professor of soil science and agroecology at Washington State University, said a crop’s yield is just one of four metrics by which it should be considered sustainably productive.

Equally important, he argued, is whether a crop is environmentally safe, economically viable to the farmer and socially responsible — by paying its workers well, for example.

“For any farm to be sustainable, it must meet each and every one of these four sustainability criteria,” Reganold said by phone Tuesday.

When organic farming practices are compared to conventional practices using all four of those metrics, the FOE report argues, the organic practices hold an advantage considering their resilience to increasingly pressing agricultural challenges, including climate change and water scarcity.

“Increasing the proportion of agriculture that uses sustainable, organic methods of farming is not a choice, it’s a necessity,” Claire Kremen, a conservation biology professor at University of California at Berkeley, writes in the report. 

The report addresses another belief the organization characterizes as a myth — that increased food production is needed to feed the growing world.

Research published in the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture in 2012 found that the world’s farmers already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. The Economist reported similar findings in a 2011 report.

read more original article Huffington post 


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Date: 2016-06-22


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