The definition of "agriculture" may be more important to solving our
problems sustainably than the differences between organic and sustainable.
Michael Boehlje, Ag Economist from Purdue University has written that
"Agriculture is Farming" is an old concept. However, we easily slip into
this way of thinking. (This excerpt from another post to this question, for
"Organic and sustainable: if we ever get to the point of producing foods
that maintain the health of the plants, animals, soils, water, and humans
in perpetuity as defined above, we will find that this method of farming is
truly sustainable. Whether we call it organic or biodynamic, or whatever,
we will find that there is only one true way of farming.")
In his new concept, "agriculture is the food (sic) production and
distribution system." This concept has been confirmed by others in this
Based on this definition, an organic carrot grown in California and
consumed in Connecticut may be less sustainable than a Connecticut carrot
which was grown with one or more "non-organic" practices.
And certainly, the all-organically-grown-and-processed guava spritzer
(assembled from ingredients grown in seven different countries and put in
aluminum cans in California before being shipped to Connecticut to be sold
in an in-store refrigerator) is so far from sustainable as to be dangerous
to our future. Yet, this is all agriculture according to the new concept.
It's about on a par with the teenager driving the new SUV 10 miles to get a
burger, fries and soda at Mickey Ds after school. How the corn and potatoes
are grown is almost irrelevant to the sustainability of this form of
agriculture. However, a dozen global agricultural corporations may profit
from that meal (Monsanto, ADM, Nestle, Simplot, Pioneer, IBP, Cargill,
Central Soya, Coca-Cola, Disney, Mcdonald's, Philip Morris, General Motors,
Enron, John Deere, International Paper, Novartis and many more may all be
Considering (food) agriculture as the entire spectrum from a plant
collecting sunlight to those molecules passing someone's lips to provide
nutrition, it is hard to beat human-powered, organic gardens as THE most
sustainable agriculture. YET, gardens are the only form of agriculture
which the USDA does not count as real sources of real food.
I doubt if we can ever have a sustainable food system (agriculture) until
home, school and community gardens and the self-provisioning of small
farmers are considered at least as seriously as a fast food meal and
organic spritzer are in planning agriculture for the future.
Solar Farm Education
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