By Amanda Stone
PCC Natural Markets recently posted an article excerpted from Maria Rodale’s newest book, Organic Manifesto. Chief executive officer of Rodale Inc. and the granddaughter of Robert Rodale, founder of the Rodale Institute, Maria knows very well the value of growing and eating organic foods.
Photo credit: Bernard Pollack
It’s true that a growing population means more mouths to feed, and many question the ability of organic to produce enough food for all. But Maria points to “clear and conclusive scientific data showing organic agriculture is key not only to solving global hunger, but also to curbing global warming, protecting public health, revitalizing farming communities, and restoring the environment.” She describes the Farm System Trial, a long-running research project of the Rodale Institute and its finding that organic farm yields are comparable – if not higher – than those of chemical farms during droughts and floods. This is the benefit of stronger root systems in organic plants, and better moisture retention in the soil, preventing runoff and erosion.
She also discusses how the problem of production and feeding the hungry isn’t necessarily growing enough food but rather the flaws in our food systems and political instability that are failing to get the food that’s already grown from farm to table.
Perhaps most importantly, Rodale discusses the importance of organic methods not just for human health, but the health of the environment. The global food system is critically interconnected to the environment and our changing climate, from agricultural inputs that leach into our soils and water, to deforestation for livestock grazing lands to the greenhouse gases emitted from industrial agriculture practices, energy and transportation. She stresses the need for consumers to play their part in creating a unified voice, demanding food that protects the environment, while also providing safe, abundant sources.
To read more conversations and opinions about how organic is beneficial to the environment see: Innovation of the Week: Handling Pests with Care Instead of Chemicals, Meet the Nourishing the Planet Advisory Group: Chuck Benbrook, Organic Agriculture and Genetic Engineering Work Together In Surprising Ways