09 July 2018
Image Source: http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/3281
read a recent article
by Otto Scharmer that inspired me to
share with you a synthesis. We all know that the price we pay for food (and
many other things) does not cover the hidden costs of producing it.
Agriculture could be on the most powerful forces for good. Instead, our current
agricultural system is one of the worst-polluting industries on the planet.
Conventional farming practices focus primarily on moncultures, genetically
modified organisms, polluting crops and groundwater, and conventional plowing
methods that result in topsoil erosion. Regenerative farming practices, on the
other hand, use no pesticides and non-GMO seeds and focus on ecosystem
diversity, crop rotation, composting and no-till cultivation.
Studies, such as the one
done in France in 2011, found that the
amount of tax money that the country was spending to clean up water that had
been polluted by conventional farming, mainly because of pesticide use, was
about equal to the amount spent on groceries that year. In UK, a study
found the real costs of conventionally
produced food was 100 percent higher than the current market prices. This,
coupled with other massive issues (like, for instance, high suicide rates among
farmers and the fact that the majority of the world's hungry people are
farmers), illustrate how our current food system creates results that nobody
But then, many would argue, we unfortunately need industrial agriculture to
feed the masses and avoid food insecurity. But, we all know the hunger problem
today is not a supply problem - its a distribution problem (as was
mentioned in my previous article on food waste). We are wasting a third of all
What we need is a transition strategy at scale that brings our agricultural
system into the 21st century, into an economic environment that no longer
discounts the costs to health, water, biodiversity and climate change. This
will have a multiple tier approach, but ultimately starts with us and what
everyday food choices we make.