Friday, November 14, 2008

Traditonal, Organic, or Modern Agriculture?

In the Chornicle of Higher Education Blog, there is a troubling post. Below are some excerpts:

" There is no doubt that food issues will be increasingly important in coming years, as agriculture is stressed by climate change, dwindling petroleum supplies, and environmental degradation in the form of loss of biodiversity and erosion."


"traditional agriculture and the industrialization of food have led people to wage war against nature, against each other, and even against their own bodies, in the form of cancers and obesity. The industrialization of food has led to empty countrysides both here in the U.S. and in India, Ms. Shiva’s native country."

Then colleges of agriculture are blamed:

"The so-called Green Revolution, which created fertilizer-dependent industrial agriculture, is a result of research done at colleges and universities. “The solutions will have to come out of the place where it started”

I assert that both industry and universities have addressed all of these issues quite well by helping to bring biotechnology to the world.

The article is supposed to be about gardening and asserts that 'middle-school students are learning about agriculture and cuisine by growing gardens.'

That is great, but great harm is also being done if these kids are not learning about the tools of modern agricultural biotechnology, and even worse if they are being taught that it is harmful!

1 comment:

Sara DownToEarth said...

The kind of thing you present here distresses me greatly. Although I am a practitioner of some alternative practices, I think the"throw the baby out with the bathwater" approach taken by many advocates of agricultural change will do far more harm than the practices they rail about.

Most of the "industrial" practices were put in place to address problems. I believe we need to be willing to look critically at what we are doing in a truly global sense: welfare (human AND animal) environmental impact, net energy source and use, best use of resources, long-term health effects, etc.

If one is going to point fingers at a single factore to blame for obesity and poor health; I'd be far quicker to blame television than industrial ag.