Organic Farming Makes No Sense


Organic farming, like all things progressive, flatters the moral vanity of liberals. Also like all things progressive, it is pernicious — even according to liberal values.

Believe in man-made global warming? Then you might be interested to know that “wide-scale composting generates significant amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.”

Of more relevance to actual dangers:

Compost may also deposit pathogenic bacteria on or in food crops, which has led to more frequent occurrences of food poisoning in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Getting sick with Campylobacter is a high price to pay for eating healthy.

More on the environmental angle:

The low yields of organic agriculture–typically 20%-50% less than conventional agriculture–impose various stresses on farmland and especially on water consumption. A British meta-analysis published in the Journal of Environmental Management (2012) found that “ammonia emissions, nitrogen leaching and nitrous oxide emissions per product unit were higher from organic systems” than conventional farming systems, as were “land use, eutrophication potential and acidification potential per product unit.”

Another consequence of applying luddite “organic” technology on a wide scale is that it will cause more starvation in poor countries:

Lower crop yields are inevitable given organic farming’s systematic rejection of many advanced methods and technologies.

The only way to make up for the lower crop yields is to farm more land, which is not likely to please Gaia. Neither is this:

Another limitation of organic production is that it disfavors the best approach to enhancing soil quality–namely, the minimization of soil disturbances such as tilling, combined with the use of cover crops. Both approaches help to limit soil erosion and the runoff of fertilizers and pesticides. Organic growers do frequently plant cover crops, but in the absence of effective herbicides, often they rely on tillage (or even labor-intensive hand weeding) for weed control.

One prevalent myth is that organic agriculture does not employ pesticides. Organic farming does use insecticides and fungicides to prevent predation of its crops. More than 20 chemicals (mostly containing copper and sulfur) are commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops and are acceptable under U.S. organic rules. They include nicotine sulfate, which is extremely toxic to warm-blooded animals, and rotenone, which is moderately toxic to most mammals but so toxic to fish that it’s widely used for the mass poisoning of unwanted fish populations during restocking projects.

Possibly most insane of all is the aversion to “genetically modified organisms,” which strictly speaking means everything we eat other than berries picked in the woods. Organisms were modified for a reason, namely to make them more suitable as food, often by making them more nutritious.

But of course, food isn’t the point. With progressives, the point is always political repression and self-righteous posturing. Down with industrial agriculture’s non-organic capitalist exploiters!

On a tip from Varla. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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