Josette Sheeran, executive director of the USDA’s food program, says “poor farmers will not be able to afford fertilizer and diesel” because of high energy prices (4/15, A-6, “Global hunger crisis deepens”). She correctly sees the connection between biofuel and food shortages. But in that thinking also lies the assumption that fossil-based diesel and fertilizers would help us to overcome the crisis.
How safe is a food production based on nonrenewable energy? What happens when these are getting scarcer? We have to honestly tell the world that basing agriculture on these two pillars not only destroys soil and farms, but has also raised totally unrealistic expectations on how many people the Earth can sustainably feed in the long run.
The U.S. agricultural system has proved to be ruinous for the land. Pollution, degradation of the soil, high erosion, health problems for man and beast are just a few of the consequences.
We need to find ways to produce food in harmony with nature all around the globe. That is the organic way.
By the way, my wife and I farm organically with draft horses and provide more than 90 families with vegetable and eggs.