July 17, 2007

Farm Fight

Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Michigan put out a study showing that organic farming methods can produce more than enough food to feed the world. Andrew Leonard fills us in on the backstory: There's a longstanding argument between those who think modern agriculture needs to follow the "green revolution" model--using hybrid or bio-tech crops and synthetic fertilizers--and those who think organic farming is a better, more sustainable, way forward.

In the wake of this latest study, it does look like the organic farmers now have the better argument. Meanwhile, Leonard notes, "there are serious questions as to whether large-scale mono-crop agriculture that requires huge inputs of synthetic petrochemically-derived nutrients is sustainable in the long run." That's doubly true in the face of rising oil prices. "Green revolution" advocates usually respond by saying that innovation will save the day--someone will design genetically modified vegetables that can feed more people with fewer inputs--but that's hardly assured.
-- Brad Plumer 7:38 PM || ||