Why Modern Organic Farming Is the Only Thing That Can Feed the World: Reason 1 of 5

Last month I was invited to be the keynote speaker at BioFach, the European organic trade show. They asked me to speak about if, and how, organic food and farming can feed the world. This week, I will be sharing my speech with you in three parts (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Of course, the answer is YES! Modern organic farming CAN feed the world.

My goal in researching and writing Organic Manifesto was to end the confusion once and for all about is happening to our health and our environment through the rampant use of toxins in our old-fashioned chemical agriculture system.

Often, when I speak to chemical farmers, they think that organic farming is about going back to “the old ways.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. The old ways often led to erosion, overuse, and land degradation.

And I don’t believe that chemical agriculture is modern, either, since it is based on an old-fashioned view of nature—that nature is something only to fear, dominate, and control. I believe that not only is it possible to move boldly into the future with modern, science-based organic farming, but that in fact we must do so if we are to survive on this planet.

And this week, I will tell you why.

Reason # 1: We already have too much food

The idea that we need to feed the world is a marketing MYTH that is promulgated to promote the sales of toxic chemicals and GMOs. And the sad fact is, most chemical farmers believe it.

A careful reading of the U.S. Farm Bill and its history shows that the main reason for government subsidies to farmers is to REDUCE production, in order to enable farmers to make more money from higher commodity pricing. Unfortunately, the increased artificial productivity gains by chemical farmers not only eat into their profits, but also destroy their long-term ability to farm by degrading their soil.

In 1998 Amartya Sen, an economist, won the Nobel prize for discovering that famines are not agricultural failures but political failures. And one of the major political and cultural failures is that in many places where famine is prevalent, women do the majority of the farming, and yet are not allowed to own the land, or even their own bodies.

If you doubt that we have too much food, just look at the obesity epidemic that started in America and is now spreading to the rest of the world. Obesity is a disease that is only enabled by our toxic chemical corn and soybean addiction.

The solution is modern organic farming.


For more reasons why modern organic farming can feed the world, come back on Wednesday to Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen.


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18 Responses to Why Modern Organic Farming Is the Only Thing That Can Feed the World: Reason 1 of 5

  1. Catherine Breheny March 7, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Thanks for posting this info. I have put it on my facebook and twitter accounts because I feel this is one of the most important aspects of our future. Thanks for your great works Maria

  2. Elizabeth Beller March 7, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I’m posting this on FB as well. Excellent information and insights. Thanks, Maria.

  3. Laura B. March 7, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Facebooked here too! Important info!!

  4. James Early March 7, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    I really appreciate that you point out that so-called “modern” chemical farming is an out-dated concept. Organic Farming is on the cutting edge of where we need to be. It is the only way to get to the future.

  5. Lacy March 7, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Great article Maria! I honestly believe if anybody can take on Monsanto and its ilk, you can, and win! We are planting our little organic patch this week…

  6. Mike Lieberman March 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    Great post and series. Look forward to your other reasons. Also just requested Organic Manifesto from the library.

  7. Pamela SUmmers March 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. I look forward to reading the rest of it.

  8. Michelle March 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this! I reposted on FB and twitter!

  9. Donna in Delaware March 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Don’t forget “gluttony” as one of the major reasons for obesity along with toxic food and besides those individuals whereby obesity is a genetic factor!

  10. melisa March 8, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Thanks for this important information. I didn’t realize that people starving around the world was a myth. You say there is already enough food – and I am happy to believe you – yet you did not address how or why this food is not feeding the world. Not sure also how organic farming is going to help a region that no longer has any organic matter left to put into the soil. Thanks for further explanation.

  11. Donna Brown March 8, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I have seen exactly what you’re talking about. I personally know farmers who are paid not to grow crops even though the government claims that there is a worldwide food shortage. There is one thing I disagree with you on and that is the idea that current ag practices are old fashioned. Inefficient and toxic I could agree with but old-fashioned it is not. Organic practices have been used a lot longer than agri-business practices. My grandfather used organic principles and raised 7 children on one small farm using these practices. (He was born in the 1800’s)

  12. Eby March 9, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    I agree that there is over production currently. However, like melisa, I was hoping for you to detail a bit more on how organic makes a difference. While conventional often uses “feeding the world” as a reason organic won’t work, just using overproduction as proof it will seems a jump.

    Simply switching to organic won’t change food distribution, growing abilities for various areas, or as you say the “political” causes of famine. I’d like to see a more indepth argument of how organic would solve these problems otherwise I find almost nothing here. Looking forward to your future posts and hoping they have more argument to them.

  13. Donna Brown March 9, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    I agree with you, Eby! Food distribution should focus on producing food locally. We need to think globally but grow locally. Food grown organically on a local level can take care of so many problems in our current food system globally. Give people the land and the tools and teach them to grow organically and they can produce much more of their own food than bureaucrats ever dreamed.

  14. Myra March 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    GMO crops are new fashion and will be the end of life through the destruction of our crops, it allowed to continue and spread.

    People are starving in 3rd world countries because of government oppression, not for lack of food. Monsanto is adding to that problem.

    GMOs, pesticides, herbicides – all bad

  15. Chris McLaughlin March 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm #


    Finally, someone who is talking sense ~ Seriously. Blending organic agriculture with current knowledge (the modern part) is exactly spot on. I’m so happy to have read this this morning.


  16. OrganicDude June 3, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Organic agriculture is the key to our survival. Chemical laden conventional agriculture is harmful to the land and to us.

  17. Joanna Moran March 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    I believe that if trees are planted on a massive scale in regions of the world that experience floods, drought and famine; if there are responsible overseers of these planting programs; if governments either support these programs or do not interfere for the bureaucrats’ financial gain, then famine is bound to be progressively eradicated and there is hope for mankind’s survival. The programs will have to preclude the use of chemicals or die a natural death.

  18. Matthew Saxe June 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    There are many hurdles to informing the consumer and I believe the largest is the idea that we label organic foods, identifying them as a liberal idea of food choice. Organic is the standard in food and should not be the labeled product. We need to see “non-organic” labeling, “grown with chemical products”, “genetically modified.”

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