by Ralph Schoellhammer
Thursday, 29
December 2022
Debate
15:21

Europe’s obsession with organic farming hurts the poor

Insisting on less efficient production methods at a time of shortage is perverse
by Ralph Schoellhammer
German farmers protest outside the Ministry of Agriculture in August 2022. Credit: Getty.

In the midst of the current global energy crisis, it can be helpful to look at how past societies dealt with similar problems. It is almost forgotten today but, as the author Vaclav Smil has pointed out in his most recent book, the industrialised world at the end of the 19th century was on the brink of serious food shortages, as the combined populations of Europe and North America grew from 300 million to 500 million between 1850 and 1900. Farmland became short in supply, so the only way to avoid a Malthusian nightmare of mass starvation was to find ways to increase agricultural output per acre. 

Unlike today, however, instead of panic the people in charge responded with a faith in science that was typical for the 19th century, and they were not disappointed. The key to solving the problem was the production of synthetic fertiliser via the synthesis of ammonia, a process developed and made ready for mass use in the German city of Oppau by 1913. Known today as the “Haber-Bosch process” (named after the two leading figures for both development and commercialisation), a cure for the dread of famine had been found. It was no coincidence that China’s first large-scale import after opening up its economy in the 1970s was 13 ammonia-urea plants from the United States.


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The can-do spirit of the period should put us to shame, since we are about to let the genie of food shortages out of the bottle again, for no other reason than ideological blindness. As has become increasingly clear, the energy crisis is not isolated to a few sectors of the economy but instead affects everything that makes a modern economy run. In the early weeks of last year the focus was on electricity and heating, but now the contagion of rising energy prices has spread to other areas as well. Germany’s pig herds, for example, have shrunk by over 20% since 2020 amid rises in production costs of almost 47%. 

But it is not only the energy crisis that makes food production more expensive. The European Union is on a silent crusade against the use of synthetic nitrogen and synthetic fertilisers more generally, thereby attempting to reverse the achievements of the Haber-Bosch process that feeds billions around the world. Germany — a world leader when it comes to ideology struggling against reality — wants 30% of agricultural lands to use only organic farming methods, at a time when more and more Germans can no longer afford to buy organic products in the supermarket. 

From energy to food production, Western countries are engaged in a race towards more inefficient means while promising pie-in-the-sky results to their populations. The reality, however, is that the promise of a nuclear-free, wind and solar-powered, exclusively organic farming country is less a utopia, more a dystopia that could only be achieved through a massive reduction of living standards for the lower and middle classes. To consider weakening one’s own grain production at a time when Ukraine’s grain exports are dropping by 30% is carrying over a suicidal energy policy to a farming context.

There is the delusional hope that a mild winter will make all problems disappear by next spring though, since the root cause is Europe’s ideological confusion, this seems increasingly unlikely.

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Ruud van Man
Ruud van Man
1 month ago

I spent much of my career in agricultural research and I came to the conclusion that this obsession with organic farming is not just Utopian, it is downright wicked. The yields from organic farming methods are on average about 30% to 40% lower than conventional yields (it varies a lot depending on the crop) and it would be impossible to feed the world using only organic methods. Not only would there be mass starvation but we would be condemning large numbers of people to back-breaking manual labour. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides CAN be used sustainably and demonizing them is a great disservice to mankind.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruud van Man

I disagree, I think organic is good where it can fit. Take raising sheep off grazing – small difference to make that organic. Some things are suitable to going that way – But the real thing is producing high end products. Not everyone lives in the same house, drives the same car.

High quality, natural, organics are both healthy, aesthetic, and just make one feel better about the meal. It costs more, but sometimes we prefer to pay more for quality.

I once did a small bit of producing one food item organically, as a hobby. I produced a top quality, very healthy, food item. Naturally it cost me a lot to produce in contrast to industrial farming, but it actually made me a bit of pocket money, and I enjoyed it. The price was triple of usual, but people did not mind paying as they knew the provenience, and selling was easy, they came to me, they thought paying more for local, quality, organic, was worth it.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

For those who can afford organic either as a hobby or because they can afford it organic may well deliver all you claim but as Rudd van Man observes it is not scalable without many being priced out of affordable food. The amount of the average income devoted to food will have to revert to pre-War levels or worse. The agricultural surpluses of Western agriculture that have helped to feed poorer countries where Malthusian want haunts the land will no longer be available so that the risk of starvation materially rises.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeremy Bray
Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I know it is not scalable for the poor – I have seen starvation – I know by what a tiny margin the poor live – but we here, on Unherd, are Middle Class, so it is more a luxury we can afford by slightly changing priorities. I was talking of the 1/4 of the world who have money to spend on what they wish rather than what they must have.

What is scary now days is the huge amount of childhood health problems from ADHD to allergies, and low sperm counts, and autism and on and on – in contrast to the 1980s and previous.. Many seem to put it down to plastics and other industrial chemicals in the food supply and environment, pesticides, herbicides, everything, and chemicals in the water…. (some even point out the increase is timed from the vast increase in childhood vaccines as a corollary issue, see Bobby Kennedy Jr and his children’s non-profit) But the numbers changing are frightening.

If I was raising a child they would not get food which was laden with chemicals. I think I would lean to organic if the product was actually organic. Like I would use wild caught Alaska salmon instead of farmed ( Alaska wild salmon is still pure), and more whole foods than industrial products – for this reason.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

“If I was raising a child they would not get food which was laden with chemicals.”
Everything in the universe is made of chemicals, duh!

WA Shanklin
WA Shanklin
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

The difference, is that nature is programmed over eons for self preservation…
Whereas agri-business and the people behind it, have a whole other agenda.
#Depopulation
Bill Gates is the biggest landowner in the U.S….
MOST OF IT FALLOW.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  WA Shanklin

Paranoid.
Also illogical. Organic has lower yields than modern farming techniques. If per absurdum agribusiness wanted to depopulate – i.e. literally kill off its own market – it would seek to do so by imposing organic farming on us.

Last edited 1 month ago by Drahcir Nevarc
WA Shanklin
WA Shanklin
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Vertical Agriculture is the solution, and people GROWING THEIR OWN

Here today gone to Maui
Here today gone to Maui
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Many so called organic products are not organic because there are few if any laws that are enforced, furthermore at what point is a product organic ? For example mass produced inorganic honey can be purchased and then repackaged as ‘organic’ with an overnight profit of 30 %, same applies to every other food product. People like yourself create a market for that and unless you grow, cultivate and pick the product yourself, one cannot be certain.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

my reply is awaiting for approval! Best not praise healthy ways in this brave world
I will see if it is the robo-censor by resubmitting with * to redact

Last edited 1 month ago by Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I know it is not scalable for the poor – I have seen starvation – I know by what a tiny margin the poor live – but we here, on Unherd, are Middle Class, so it is more a luxury we can afford by slightly changing priorities. I was talking of the 1/4 of the world who have money to spend on what they wish rather than what they must have.
What is scary now days is the huge amount of childhood health problems from ADHD to allergies, and low spe* m counts, and autism and on and on – in contrast to the 1980s and previous.. Many seem to put it down to plastics and other industrial chemicals in the food supply and environment, pesticides, herbicides, everything, and chemicals in the water…. (some even point out the increase is timed from the vast increase in child hood va* cin es as a corollary issue, see Bobby Kennedy Jr and his children’s non-profit) But the numbers changing are frightening.
If I was raising a child they would not get food which was laden with chemicals. I think I would lean to organic if the product was actually organic. Like I would use wild caught Alaska salmon instead of farmed ( Alaska wild salmon is still pure), and more whole foods than industrial products – for this reason.

David Mayes
David Mayes
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze
David Mayes
David Mayes
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

“Organic produce is neither safer or healthier and studies have shown it over and over again.” Read this linked article:
A new European-based organic grocery store came to town. Why does it misrepresent the advantages of organic and the disadvantages of GMO foods? – Genetic Literacy Project

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Organic farming isn’t the issue. In a market economy, there will be someone willing to pay and someone willing to produce. The problem is top-down government intervention. Forcing farmers to adopt less efficient production methods can only end in misery.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Try Organic without farmed animals which are also demonised

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The problem is most certainly NOT top-down government intervention per se, it’s badly thought-out intervention. Without control animal welfare would be almost non-existent, as would the use of all sorts of dodgy medicines and chemicals in agricultural production (remember DDT?). Capitalism in agriculture, as frankly in any aspect of the economy, needs control for the benefit of society as a whole – the only possible debate is how and how much!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Organics make me feel worse about the meal, for the reasons given by Ruud.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

If this comment is supposed to be an objection to the OP’s comment, I am not sure how: you have emphasised exactly why organic farming cannot form the basis of any broad policy approach to agricultural regulation without pricing millions of people out of the markets for food itself.

(And by pricing people out of food markets, I mean forcing people to starve. Not something that anyone can easily defend nor want to, I would have thought.)

Last edited 1 month ago by John Riordan
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruud van Man

Exceedingly well said.

Declan Bartlett
Declan Bartlett
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruud van Man

I just want to ask, where are you getting the 30-40% figure from? Additionally, does the source take into account nutrient yields and density? I’d imagine that an organic advocate would argue that whilst the biomass yields are less, the nutrient yields are more. This would justify the method more than you give it credit for I think.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago

He’s probably getting his figures from the Genetic Literacy Project, which is a source of excellent crop science scholarship.

net mag
net mag
1 month ago
Reply to  Ruud van Man

And add to that the impact on wildlife habitat, wildlife and wild land populations generally as previously undisturbed lands get converted to agriculture to make up the production deficit.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago

One of the major differences between today and the 19th Century is that the elite decision makers in parliament were often involved in landed estates and took a practical interest in any scientific advance that could improve their yields. Our elites today tend to be urban with little connection to the countryside except in terms of a pleasant landscape or a visit to one of the great houses of the former landed elite now administered by the National Trust as a result of years of death duties decimating the this class.

The result is that the urban elites are suckers for pseudoscientific modelling theories that are detached from the reality of food production and the costs of inputs to achieve yields. The very success of fertiliser and machine farming has for years lowered the price of agricultural produce so that the urban elite has been able to indulge in the luxury of some organic produce and so believes that it can be scaled up to benefit the many without properly examining or understanding the reality of the situation.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Very important point. The political and technocratic elite are often disconnected from the people and the land.

In Canada, we have three major political parties. The leaders of two are trust fund babies who went to private schools and never held real jobs before entering politics. Of course, they make up the ruling coalition. I doubt they’ve ever met a working class person, other than someone handing them a menu.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

And in fact there’s a specific case that proves your point here: at the end of the 19th century European nations were in fact facing food shortages as the expanding population was on the point of outpacing the land’s ability to produce food. Elites at that time had more direct faith in science than now, it appears, because they put the problem to their scientific establishments and by 1910 the Haber-Bosch process was producing ammonia fertiliser at scale, which did indeed solve the problem entirely.

The push for organic farming now – especially the disastrous attempt by the Sri Lankans in 2020 that led to economic collapse and a humanitarian disaster – is not merely scientifically illiterate, it is expressly anti-science because it seeks to reverse the gains that saved our societies from starvation a century ago. The stupidity would be mind-boggling except that I suspect that it’s not stupidity, it’s worse than that.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Unfortunately the voters are also increasingly urban and isolated from rural concerns. We get the politicians we deserve

A generation ago the rural vote was important to political parties, now its seen as irrelevant.

Max Beran
Max Beran
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I guess that you mean “decimate” in the “reduced to ten percent of its former size” rather than in its Roman legionnaire sense.
They are also disconnected from the person (mostly a personess) who goes to the supermarket and does the cooking. I grow veg in my garden and not much would pass muster from the viewpoint of cleanliness, bug-free, nobbliness, size, leaf perfection, straightness etc. Time spent in preparation is very large compared with the stuff from Tesco et al.

R Wright
R Wright
1 month ago

“the promise of a nuclear-free, wind and solar-powered, exclusively organic farming country is less a utopia, more a dystopia that could only be achieved through a massive reduction of living standards for the lower and middle classes”
It’s almost like it’s malice instead of incompetence that is responsible for it.

Laura R
Laura R
1 month ago

What people fail to understand about organic farming is its nothing about the quality of the crop but about the health of the soil.

Eat more beans as they make nitrogen out the sky, dont kill the worms and micro organisms that hold the water and soil together. The alternative is an interstellar shaped dustbowl. If the climate change is here to stay we need the soils to be resiliant. We dont have the water reserves to wash in cars in summer, nevermind irrigate our crops.

Yes there is a lot of regulation and gatekerping to get the organic stamp of approval but i recognise regenerative farming practices being implemented in the fields and its here to stay. Humanure cant be far off.

Personally i dont mind gm crops but what isnt acknowledged is the fact those crops are sterile so are of limited benefit in developing countries due to the outlay. Farmers are right to be wary of big ag’s monopoly on the current model.

Also dont use Sri lankas kamikaze leap into organic farming as a cautionary tale. Do your homework on how much npk they were reliant upon importing.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
1 month ago

Before making comments on this piece it is important to think where we get our info from: the universities funded by the chemical and agro-investment-return bodies (companies). We have to consider that most of what is written in the press is fed by this industry to keep us convinced about the needs for the chemical farming we like so much.
The current type of agriculture we support and subsidise is not sustainable what ever argument you bring up: it kills diversity (diversity is an essential key of nature) it eliminates fertile soil, and produces poor quality (poorly nutritious) food.
Farmers are indeed getting better at reducing poor farming methods, but this only works if the governments (currently run by the lobby) makes it work for them. The lobby cannot afford farming to use less chemicals… a vicious cycle.
If you feed people good quality foods, they thrive better = less health issue and better economical integration. Governments have all the reason to make good quality food available to all: it will reduce social care and health budgets.
Indeed , I live in cloud cuckoo land as the pressure of the lobby (on gov and investment in research = running of universities) will continue to maintain the poor quality mass faming industry which is so healthy for their business model.
Buying organic food is indeed for now a protest action….

Bob Smalser
Bob Smalser
1 month ago

The War on Nitrogen is stupidly fraudulent. Nitrogen is 75% of the atmosphere and is a required element for plant growth. As it is expensive to apply artificially, it is self-limiting. Farmers today test the soil, create a detailed nutrients profile and using computers on-board their tractors only apply what will be consumed. There is almost Zero waste.

Kev Ison
Kev Ison
1 month ago

A bright future with sustainable, regenerative and organic farming awaits us.
While this article paints a picture of famine and decline of living standards if we do not drop organic farming, the opposite is actually the reality.
Luckily, in thousands upon thousands of farms around the world, there is a quiet, but huge revolution going on that is moving from high input, monoculture, commercial farming, to localised, low input, high biodiversity and higher profitable regenerative, organic, sustainable farming.
This is happening across all farm types, and is happening rapidl;y as farmers are realising that they can increase soil carbon (and thus fertility), increase soil moisture retention (drought proofing), increase farm resilience (through multi crops) and increase overall profits through hugely reduced input use.
Farmers are starting to find farming profitable and less stressful as they start working with nature.
This farming will take back deserts, help reduce hunger at a local as well as national level, help return native plants and animals, reduce flooding. improve communities and bring local employment.
There is much to be optimistic about. 
If you want to know more, check out information and videos on Sustainable Farming, regenerative farming, permaculture, syntropic agriculture and  organic farming and see the positive things that are happening to change our agriculture to a much better model for all.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

What’s even worse is the impact on third world countries. Prices will increase in the west, but people will starve in poor countries. Just look at natural gas. Europe has driven up prices so high that Pakistan literally can’t get a single supplier to sign a long-term contract.

Maybe this is how great empires crumble – by a series of self-inflicted paper cuts that eventually bleed out.

Robert Cocco
Robert Cocco
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I just read about Sri Lanka and what happened to their farming when the government tried to ban synthetic fertilizer and chemical usage.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Cocco

Ya. That ended ugly – for the farmers and the govt.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Cocco

Sri Lanka is the tragic result of imposing organic farming on the masses.

Kev Ison
Kev Ison
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Cocco

The Sri Lanka incident was politically motivated and a land grab. Transitioning to non fertiliser farming is generally not possible overnight. This is well known and the government ignored this for other reasons than sustainability. With most farms, it takes several years to transition over to sustainable and regenerative farming. The soil microbes need to build up again after being depleted by soluble synthetic fertilisers.
If you want to know what is possible with regenerative and organic farming, check out a great farmer of 5000 acres in Dakota, USA. Gabe Brown. 
He farms with no synthetic fertiliser, pesticides or herbicides while he increased his soil organic carbon (organic matter)  from 1.9% in 1991 to 6.1% and so has 3 times the amount of carbon taken out of the atmosphere into his soil than conventionally farmed soils in the same area.
He saved his farm from financial ruin by using regenerative farming systems.
He has crop yields  20-25 percent higher than the average yields in his county.
And he accepts no government subsidies and says he has a profitability 40 times (yes 40) that of other farmers in the area. 
What is there not to like.?

Kevin R
Kevin R
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Maybe this is how great empires crumble – by a series of self-inflicted paper cuts that eventually bleed out.

Brexit anyone?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 month ago

Anyone would think that our elites want to be able to deny us food and heating, if we voice opposing views. Surely not.

Jordan Flower
Jordan Flower
1 month ago

you know what else hurts the poor, is food covered in glyphosate

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Jordan Flower

Simply not true.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 month ago

What I find unbelievable is that this policy nonsense is still being pushed by governments despite the fact that it was tried in Sri Lanka in recent years and had the principle effect of turning a country self-sufficient in rice into one that had to import rice to stop its own people from starving.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

Kayleigh and Marc will only feed Courtenay and Tiger Jayde on whatever the internet tells them, just as their ‘ pets’ are Vegan, their black windowed Tesla is electric, and their snowy white ” troyners” are ‘ ethically sourced”….yuh?… like, n’ stuff, OK?

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 month ago

If we can “solve” the immigration problem then the food shortage will fix itself due to a shrinking population.

Unfortunately we are caught in a ponzi scheme where we need an ever expanding population to drive an increase in GDP to be able to repay the debts of yesterday (and today).

And with an ever expanding population we need more food and more power. Both of which we are busy making less efficient rather than more.

🙂

Kevin R
Kevin R
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

If we can “solve” the immigration problem then the food shortage will fix itself due to a shrinking population.

Well, the food shortage in our country might be alleviated but the global food shortage certainly won’t. And guess where all those hungry souls will be headed when there’s nothing left for them at home. Millions of starving refugees on a life or death mission to find their way into the rich global north is a recipe for chaos.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

I agree. Robust immigration controls are now a matter of emergency.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

In the meantime thousands of acres of food growing farmland are being paved over with housing estates in a vain attempt to keep up with England’s out of control population growth.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
1 month ago

The ‘root cause’ is immigration leading to population growth.

Carmen Carmen
Carmen Carmen
1 month ago

Organic should be the minimum standard. The author implies that we cannot afford organic as a society but nobody is asking the question if we can afford the decimation of the bee population, the ever increasing health care system, etc. Pay now or pay later. If there’s a will there is a way. But alas, when money and profits are involved, common sense goes out the window. The health of the planet and humans in it should not be an “ideological issue”.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago

I always buy non-organic, including GM where possible, and have been doing so for about the last twenty years.

Claire D
Claire D
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Ah, that explains everything !

(joking)

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Claire D

I still have the correct number of limbs, and no udders, antlers, tail, or extra head.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I buy organic, if it looks fresh, and I grow quite a bit of organic fruit & veg in my backyard – which, if costed, would be astronomically expensive.

If producers all followed the rules for using agricultural chemicals there might be no problem, but I don’t think they do. We once had a citrus orchard and followed the rules for spraying etc, but the guy next door grew strawberries, which he sprayed and sprayed, right up to picking them for sale. His reason was that if he didn’t spray during the ‘with-holding’ period, some pest could mark his crop and ruin it. Strawberries have to look perfect.

So I’m enjoying my own organic strawberries now, just as the blueberries finish and before the figs are ripe. One thing about the the cost of organic … I’ve read many times that people throw out between a quarter and a third of the fresh food that they buy, which suggests that maybe food is too cheap? (At least for the middle classes?)

I also wonder about our not using human waste as fertiliser. I lived in China for a few years, exactly opposite a large vegetable producing bit of land, and they fertilised it twice a year with human waste – an unpleasant smell for a week! But can we afford to just dispose of that large amount of nutrients while pouring imported artificial fertilisers on to our land?

Last edited 1 month ago by Russell Hamilton
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 month ago

The problem of using human waste as fertiliser is that’s pretty much what caused BSE (which was feeding waste meat to vegitarian cows)
The toxins can build up in a cycle (and if the toxins are prions or whatever there were called they may not be destroyed by waste treatment processes)

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago

“I’ve read many times that people throw out between a quarter and a third of the fresh food that they buy, which suggests that maybe food is too cheap? ”
Firstly, I admire your nerve saying that food is too cheap during the era of foodbanks. Secondly, given its eschewing of preservatives, perishable organic food doesn’t stay fresh as long, which exacerbates the issue of food waste.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

foodbanks … build them and they will come, as the saying goes

Kevin R
Kevin R
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I admire your nerve saying that food is too cheap during the era of foodbanks.

Well he did add the caveat ‘at least for the middle classes’ which suggests income / wealth disparity to be partly to blame.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kevin R
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Kevin R

If he’s saying food is too cheap, he would seem by implication to be arguing for more expensive food, which will have the gravest effect on the poor, by definition.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Well, perhaps those who can afford to buy organic, should. Like most things, the market will provide a range of goods – poorer people will buy the cheaper. At least consider organic for those foods which are sprayed a lot. There are other factors, such as ‘food miles’, packaging etc. to be considered.

Human manure – yes, too many issues (we humans consume a lot of chemicals/drugs) for agriculture … but howabout forestry? Could we use it to grow a lot of bamboo, which has lots of uses?

One ‘benefit’ of growing food yourself, if you have a little space, is learning just how hard it is! If you start off with poor soil it takes years to build it up, and then you have to maintain it. I can go over my plants and pick off pests by hand, but it takes ages, so you can see that’s not going to work on a commercial scale. But then, given that we don’t know what effects the ‘chemical cocktail’ we consume (not just through foods) is having, it’s probably wise to minimise chemical use where we can.

Last edited 1 month ago by Russell Hamilton
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago

“But then, given that we don’t know what effects the ‘chemical cocktail’ we consume (not just through foods) is having, it’s probably wise to minimise chemical use where we can.”
We have a very good idea of the effects of many chemicals, and every last particle in the universe is made of chemicals, duh!