I’ve been thinking a lot about time, our place in time and how agriculture has allowed us to harness vast resources and change our environment.
They say that the universe banged into existence about 13 billion years ago. Seven million years ago, a group of bipedal primates stood up in Africa to evolve into humans. For 200,000 years, humans foraged for food, roaming in small communities. We migrated and adapted during ice ages and tectonic shifts to almost every corner of the globe.
Suddenly and simultaneously, humans domesticated plants and animals just 10,000 years ago. We settled in place and became agrarians. We cut and burned great forests to expand, with evidence showing a rise in global carbon during this era.
We began to write 5000 years ago and could now pass our collective knowledge on to future generations. Civilizations rose, and great walled cities with armies assembled.
In the 1960s, technology was applied in earnest with bio-engineered seeds in conjunction with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
With the advent of modern farming practices, we’ve seen a massive increase in food production and the human population.
But with this increase in production has come a rise in adverse environmental impacts.
Today we’re experiencing a reckoning of these impacts, a convergence of shifts in climate, food insecurity, political and social upheaval, and mass migration.
The time to adopt different paradigms in our food system is upon us, and Organic Agriculture leads the way.
Don’t be confused about Organic Farming.
There are many labels and attributes like “Eco-Friendly,” “Non-GMO,” “Regenerative,” or “Sustainable” that only confuse the meaning of organic farming.
Plainly said, Organic encompasses all those terms using environmentally sustainable methods to produce food and other crops. Organic farming utilizes crop rotation, cover crops, green manures, composting, and biologically active fertilizers to build healthy soil.
Healthy soils sequester carbon from the environment, retain and absorb water, making it more resilient in a dry year, improving water quality by retaining more water and reducing runoff from cropland. Healthy soil is the answer to meeting the needs of a growing population and food production.
Organic prohibits the use of GMOs and toxic pesticides, protecting our rapidly declining natural biodiversity.
Eco-friendly farming is one way to help ensure that our planet can continue to support life for generations to come. And Organic is the only true “Eco-Friendly” way of farming if we’re going to survive the next few decades.
Time to Understand Challenges to Organic
Conventional farmers who want to make the switch to organic methods face enormous hurdles. Their soil has been ravaged with chemicals, the landscape is devoid of beneficial plants and insects. The natural systems are out of balance, and it’s going to take years of remediation to make things right.
In the three years required to transition to organic, this farmer probably has lower yields and can’t sell their crops as organic, so they get lower prices.
But in the long run, they’ll be left stewarding a piece of the earth that’s in balance with nature, helping to heal our planet.
Organic products are often more expensive than conventional, which is a challenge for consumers in today’s inflationary economy.
But if you consider the true cost of food production, it’s clear we can pay now or pay even more later.
Behind cheap food is a vast realm of unaccounted-for consequences: the diversion of water from rivers; the extraction of nutrients from the soil; the discharge of pollutants to air and water; cheap labor to grow, manage, pick, and package; the release of carbon dioxide to transport and deliver.
When we shine a light on that 99¢ hamburger, it costs all of us a lot more than the buck. Cheap food is paid for by all of us globally.
Food production is a key driver of habitat loss, carbon emissions, disease and migration.
A new relationship is needed with the food we eat, starting with reforming a system out of balance.
We can support local farmers who are making the switch to organic. We can also pledge to buy only organic produce whenever possible, even if it’s more expensive.
Organic Agricultures Time in Climate Change
It’s time we move away from conventional farming practices that require large amounts of land, water, and energy and emit high levels of greenhouse gasses.
The time has come to shift to organic methods that rebuild soil health and capture carbon and improve water retention—all help to mitigate climate change.
Methane is a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide. Even though it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long, over 20 years, it is eighty-four times more potent at trapping heat.
Food systems are responsible for more than 1/3 of all GHGs, and methane accounts for 35% of those emissions, most stemming from livestock production.
Instead, methane can then be used as a renewable source of energy or diverted from landfills altogether to make innovative organic products.
AgroThrive is a company with unique technology to transform methane-producing animal waste into organic fertilizers. By harnessing the power of microbial and enzymatic digestion, they transform industrial food waste into liquid organic bio-fertilizer in only 21 days.
Growers find that prolific microbial activity increases soil organic matter, retaining more nutrients and water. They witness vigorous root and foliage growth and improved disease resistance.
There are additional resources for reducing GHG emissions.
We must start capturing and purifying methane emitted by human activities, such as raising livestock and landfills. This methane can then be used as a renewable source of energy and can be obtained through the RNG process. Not only would this help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it would also create a new industry that would generate jobs and revenue.
We’ve Done Damage in a Short Amount of Time
If you compress the time the universe has existed into a single day, with the Big Bang occurring at the stroke of midnight, humans came to the party very late—at 11:59:56pm, just four seconds before the end of the day. Agriculture was adopted only a fraction of a second ago.
If we are going to make it into the next day, we must radically change the way we farm, what we eat, and the fairness of our food systems.
Food systems cannot be considered through the lens of a single sector, social, economic, or environmental. This creates a patchwork of policies that lack sight of the interdependence of the components that make up the integrated whole.
To create regulatory changes that transform our food system and incentivize organic practices.
Let’s foster the will to redeem the earth in ourselves and in others. It’s time.