Is there only two choices?

James McWilliams, in “Just Food”, suggests we take a side. Either we are for ‘high-yielding’ agribusiness or ‘low-yielding’ organics. He suggests that promoting organics and buying local doesn’t work. Why? Because not all areas have the climate or environment to grow their own food. Those areas. he says, will have to convert existing wild space into farmland to support the population and in some cases bring in adequate water to support the crops, or they’ll have to truck in food from other places. What do areas like Nevada or Nunavut do about food? Can they grow their own?

He has brought up interesting issues. How do people in Africa view buying local and organic? What about India? McWilliams says that these areas are so desperate for food that high yield crops and the means to create high yield crops (ie chemicals and GMO) aren’t questioned or considered, they’re embraced.

What is the solution? What do you think each of us needs to do to impact food needs globally and locally?

3 thoughts on “Is there only two choices?

  1. It seems to be a modern myth that chemical agriculture is high yeilding. It may have seemed so at first since the soils were not as depleted as they are now. This author also shows a blatant ignorance of the fact that chemical and mineral fertilizers are a non renewable resource and so the quantities of them are limited, and we are running out quickly. We ARE going organic whether we like it or not! Genetically modified crops have also not lived up to their “promise” of feeding the world, as now super weeds are developing in round up ready crops, and GMO crops have performed so badly in places lke India that farmers by the thousands are committing suicide because they cannot afford to continue to farm, after farming sucessfully for generations. If you are interested in how Organics can turn the desert into fertile land watch the U tube video “Greening the Desert”
    It is a big lie that chemical methods of fertilizer are the answer,and in many cases they are creating the problems that the Third World Countries have to deal with, including desertification!! People are unecessarily starving because they have indeed embraced the big lie of chemical agriculture and there are many deaths that these big corporations like Monsanto are responsible for, all in the name of profit. Even the Vatican cautioned against GMO crops after witnessing the problems they have created.
    When was this book written? I fear it may be woefully outdated in light of some of the most recent information that has caused Monsanto’s stock to fall dramatically over the last year. Genetically modified crops are just not working.

  2. more thing…we will not have to convert “wild space” to farmland, we can just outlaw lawns!!! The native people of the north lived for centuries on a traditional diet, and it is shameful that these day it may be getting scare, as well as contaminated mostly due to modern chemical agriculture with pesticides and food transportation that has caused global warming. I believe if we truly put all the land that we are now wasting on lawns throughout the planet into farm production, as well as greening more desert, that used to be forested before we killed the forests off, and then killed the soil, we could more then help other communities with food.

    • I agree whole heartedly. When we consider what chemicals are doing to our bodies…ie. bioaccumulation, hormone disrupting, etc. feeding the world in the future takes on a new bent. Going high yield just doesn’t seem to be a choice….period! I understand he is looking at the global issue of food production but as you said, chemically grown food is only leading us down a dead end road!

      Finished reading one section where he talks about fertilizers used on organic farms. He made the false assumption that all organic farms use cow poop as fertilizer, then went on to say how destructive and energy sucking raising cattle are for poop. The last time I looked Nanoose did not have cow poop on their fields. What do you think organic farms use for fertilizer?

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