Is Organic Food Always The Best?

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Is Organic Food Always The Best?

Posted on November 13 2017

Organic crops are often heralded as better for the environment because they’re grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides, and are more drought-tolerant than crops grown using industrialized methods. But even organic farms that use waste from their animals do not produce enough fertilizer to grow their crops and must rely on products from factory farms. In fact, a total shift to organic farming would require more animals than the 60 billion land animals already bred, confined, and slaughtered every year.

Though the term “veganic” is relatively new as applied to raising crops, the methods are not. Pre-colonial agriculture in North America and Mesoamerica did not rely on domesticated animals, as cattle, pigs, goats, and chickens were brought to the Americas by European colonialists. Native American agriculture relies on the three sister crops—corn, beans, and squash—that synergistically keep the soil fertile, discourage predators, and complement each other nutritionally. During the past decade, the honeybee population, for example, has decreased by 30 percent, which reduces crop yields and may threaten our survival on Earth. Furthermore, traditional agriculture’s enormous use of land is largely to blame for soil erosion and desertification worldwide, as well as a loss of wildlife, destroying more than 50 percent of natural habitats and threatening an estimated 4,000 plant and animal species.

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Organic crops are often heralded as better for the environment because they’re grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides, and are more drought-tolerant than crops grown using industrialized methods. But even organic farms that use waste from their animals do not produce enough fertilizer to grow their crops and must rely on products from factory farms. In fact, a total shift to organic farming would require more animals than the 60 billion land animals already bred, confined, and slaughtered every year.

Though the term “veganic” is relatively new as applied to raising crops, the methods are not. Pre-colonial agriculture in North America and Mesoamerica did not rely on domesticated animals, as cattle, pigs, goats, and chickens were brought to the Americas by European colonialists. Native American agriculture relies on the three sister crops—corn, beans, and squash—that synergistically keep the soil fertile, discourage predators, and complement each other nutritionally. During the past decade, the honeybee population, for example, has decreased by 30 percent, which reduces crop yields and may threaten our survival on Earth. Furthermore, traditional agriculture’s enormous use of land is largely to blame for soil erosion and desertification worldwide, as well as a loss of wildlife, destroying more than 50 percent of natural habitats and threatening an estimated 4,000 plant and animal species.

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