What's wrong with industrial food production and our approach to farming in the US?

2 posts / 0 new

There are many problems in the US, jobs, health, hunger, energy, housing, environmental disasters, population concentrations etc. etc. How many of these issue have to do with something as basic as our approach to food production and farming?

To understand how we got to where we are you have to look back in history. As we first settled in America of course our first needs were food, shelter and basic products. Much needed to be imported as we worked to built our infrastructure and independence and grew our population. The industrial revolution demanded labor which was in short supply. Much of the labor was on the farms so if farming was industrialized labor could be freed up to build cites and manufacturing of other needed products. Energy was abundant and cheap and could be used to mechanize agriculture and grow products taking less labor. We often here of figures of how many farmers it has taken over our history to feed and provide fiber for people. Energy in the form of oil and natural gas drove increased production per farmer. These energy forms powered the equipment, was the source for fertilizing the land and the base for the chemicals to controls pests. Though somewhat successful in a sense in the past this approach was not without many shortcomings that we are now starting to understand.

Have the driving forces changed in todays situation? Is labor still in short supply? Is energy still cheap and abundant? Is irrigation water still cheap and abundant to add to soils were chemical fertilizers replaced organic matter nutrients that conserved water needs? Is chemical pest controls still the best approach? Are genetically modified seeds really the new answer to some shortcomings? Can we really survive on corn and soybeans and only a few crops that work well with an industrialized food system? Presently, how safe and healthy are these products to people and the environment.

Now I'm not saying there isn't a role for industrial agriculture. But the new broadly called sustainable agriculture movement I feel can also have a role in dealing with many of the issues I first mentioned. It has much room to grow and can as it has in the recent past actually help to improve many of the approaches of the past industrial ag. monopoly.

EdBourgeois's picture
EdBourgeois
Joined:
May. 14, 2010 11:24 am

Comments

Industrial farming provides exponetially higher yeilds per acre. Less industrialized farming will require more land and more water to produce the same amount of product, that is why organic products tend to be more expensive.

gumball's picture
gumball
Joined:
Dec. 12, 2013 10:02 am

Latest Headlines

One Iowa Caucus Delegate Comes Down To Coin Toss

The Iowa caucus convener flipped a coin. Bernie Sanders supporters called "heads" and it landed on tails.

Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton by 31 points in N.H.: Poll

Sanders was at 61 percent support in the University of Massachusetts Lowell/7News poll, followed by Mrs. Clinton, at 30 percent

Martin O'Malley suspends presidential campaign after Iowa caucuses

The announcement came after O'Malley barely registered in Iowa against his better-known rivals Clinton and Sanders, failing to meet already low expectations

Comparing 2016 America to 1972 America Doesn't Work

Bernie Sanders' big win in New Hampshire has given his campaign a big boost, but even Bernie knows that there's still a long primary season ahead.

One of the biggest criticisms about Bernie Sanders, one that I hear frequently from pro-Clinton callers, is that Bernie Sanders could be the next George McGovern.

And it's a serious criticism that's being thrown at Bernie.

Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system