Where's Organic Farming Headed?

Is the farming industry getting worse and is there anything being done to stop the problem of non organic farming?


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Jun 27, 2011
Food crisis
by: Robert Bradford

In my opinion our food crisis jointly created by Congress, FDA, FTC, Big Pharma and agribusiness will be self limiting. This will not be immediate or painless. Our food(if you can still call it that) is mass produced by corporations. The only job of corporations is to make money for the stockholders. Each of the villains in the opening sentence is after only one thing: the highest selling price at the lowest cost or in other words PROFIT.
The reasons I see our current problem being self limiting are:
1) Inflation is raising the cost of production and transportation. Inflation increases the cost of each and every step in the assembly line. Those increases are cumulative. A five percent increase for each on twenty steps does not double a one dollar item. It makes it two dollars and seventy nine cents. The more steps involved the greater the increase as in compound interest. There is a limit to possible price increases the customer will pay. That limits profit.
2) We have passed peak oil so more dollars are bidding for less oil. Oil is not just used to plow, plant and deliver. It is also used to make fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, fungicide and packaging.
3) Before the last 100 years mankind grew their own organic food for 6 millennium.
The petrochemical industry was born at the end of the second world war. The ammunition makers were desperate to find a new market for ammonium nitrate. Nitrogen is needed for plant growth. they tried it and it worked, but only sort of. Artificial chemicals destroy soil and the life therein and make it just dirt. Most artificials are water soluble. They leach out rapidly and further pollute our streams, rivers, lakes and drinking water. They have the same effect as hydroponic growing, no taste, no vitamins, no minerals and no insect or disease resistance. Ever increasing amounts of petrochemicals have to be added each year to maintain yield.
4) We are relearning gardening. Some of us remember Victory Gardens, some remember the TV show. More and more people are starting to garden each year. The food tastes better and is more healthful. The market for organic food is growing and an increasing percentage of the public is willing to pay more for real food.
5) Hyperinflation will kill the dollar. The government will default on our debt and the dollar will become worthless.
6) When the god of the corporations ($) dies the corporations die too. We have seen a great number of corporations move their production overseas. They are getting out of the dollar game. When they are gone from here we will have no choice but to depend on ourselves.
7) Then and only then we will go back to doing things the way it was done for 6000 years. We now have three choices. Grow our own, spend more and more for imitation food at the store while we still can or starve now as opposed to later
We may not see all of this in our lifetime. Hopefully our grandchildren will see the end of this problem.
Robert Bradford

Apr 25, 2010
Sustainable Living
by: Old Nebraska Dave

Wow, a full blown aquaponics system makes my little horse tank project seem rather small in comparison. I?m in the process of building a 1200 gallon automatic gravity feed garden watering system. It too will house fish but I do not plan to Winter over the fish. The fish will be from what ever I catch from the local lakes and ponds. When the Winter nears the fish will either be harvested or thrown back into the lakes and ponds. It?s sort of a practical water feature for the backyard kind of thing. So far I am still working on the foundation to support the five tons of water weight. Hopefully in a couple good working days the foundation will be finished and I can get on with the next part of the project. I?ve been wanting to do this for a couple years. I too thought about mounting a bug zapper over the tank to provide some free fish food. Not exactly a self sustainable thing but it?s better than not having anything and the project keeps me busy and out of trouble. I am most anxious to get it operational.

Apr 19, 2010
by: Anonymous

I have an aquaponics system (10,000 litre tank with 200 Jade Perch + 10 growbeds) that is producing all our salad vegetables, spring onions and herbs and cucumbers, tomatoes etc in season. Had a fish dinner for 8 people on Sunday fed with 4 fish (3 fish around 600gm, 1 at 1.2kg)
+ a big salad with a variety of lettuces, rocket, watercress and herbs all from the system.
Jade Perch (Barcoo Grunter) grow pretty well in SE Queensland (but feed all year round up in the tropics where they come from) - and have the highest amount of omega 3 oil of ANY fish tested - 4 times more than Mackeral. Fantastic eating smoked. Everyone in my family loves to come for my fish dinners - best fish they have ever tasted is the common refrain :)

And the system HAS to be 100% organic - fish are Very sensitive to all pesticides and artificial fertilisers.
If you want to be self sufficient you need an aquaponics system! It uses the Least amount of water of any farming system - the water is recycled forever, the only loss is from transpiration from the plants. Perfect for dry farming areas.
Right now I must have at least 100Kg of fish swimming around. I go fishing with a rod every sunday morning and clean and marinate the fish for lunch.

The only input is fish food, which is not cheap, but the total output of quality organic fish protein and vegetables makes it very worthwhile.
You feed the fish. Naturally occurring nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the gravel convert the fish urine to Nitrates - The plants grow on the nitrates and fish solids - and clean, oxygenated water flows back to the fish.

You eat the fish and the vegetables - throw excess lettuce and veggies to the fish and chooks - fish guts to the chooks - fish heads are in a basket over the fish so the fly maggots fall down and feed the fish. Nothing gets wasted.

When I retire I will make my own food from stale bread, spare eggs, lettuce leaves (Jade Perch are omnivores that love lettuce), maggots (from fish heads) etc.

Aquaponics is no good for potato, carrots and other deep root vegetables that need soil - my beds contain 20mm gravel.

Check out http://www.greenoz.info for some pictures.

You can buy the Kindle/eBook version of my book from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/8280 for US$8.99 - and you can download the first 25% for free.

Jan 14, 2010
Grow more for 2010
by: Nebraska Dave

Vickie, I so totally agree. I read an article that claimed that the most cultivated crop in North America was Urban and city lawns. All one has to do is wander through a big box store and see row after row of chemicals made to suppress weeds, encourage grass growth, and kill bugs. To bring back to life a section of lawn for gardening has become somewhat of a challenge even in Nebraska. The flora of the soil is suffering not only in big agriculture farms but right in the city yards. I’ve never been so aware as now of how the balance of nature in the soil is under attack. My challenge this year is to step away from the processed food which is practically everything in a sealed bag. Another thing I’d like to reactivate in my journey this year would be preserving long term and short term and baking bread. Small steps to a more simpler life style.

Local farmer’s markets have made its way into summer culture here even in the yuppie side of town. I ran into a yard designer last summer while helping my cousin to install a flagstone patio that claims this decade will be one where home owners will rediscover the backyard garden. Her challenge was to make the garden look nice and fit into the design of the yard. Wonderful news I think as long as they don’t dump on commercial fertilizer and pesticide it to death.

So far I have only three 4X8 raised beds to nurse back to health. I’m excited about this year as in previous years I’ve only had enough time for one bed. I’ve never attempted cold weather vegies before and plan to this year so that will be a new challenge .... that is if the snow ever melts here.

Jan 14, 2010
Voting with my consumer dollar
by: Vicke

The problem is that the soil matrix is so ruined on most big ag farms, that "going back to organic" is going to take a massive effort at soil amendment before anything can even grow in it. In the meantime, I believe the urban gardener and local small farm is going to be our salvation.

I try to grow my own where possible, buy local and limit my "traveling food" to a handful of items that I really love but aren't found locally. I'm also not buying anything that I know is connected to Monsanto, Tyson, Cargill and a few other companies.

Stillwater, OK

Jan 13, 2010
Urban gardening comeback
by: Nebraska Dave

It’s been said that here in the States the salad we are eating on our plate for supper has traveled an average of 1500 miles to reach our table. It’s unbelievable to think about how much energy and fuel has gone into to growing and transporting it to my table. There’s a grass roots movement going on here to bring back the Urban Backyard Garden. Community gardens are sprouting up every where for those that don’t have a place to grow. Raised beds, composting, and small animals are all becoming of interest to city dwellers. This movement is in its infancy and hasn’t moved into the main stream yet, but I believe it will grow in popularity as energy prices continue to climb. I’m trying to cut back on the out of season food, grow as much as I can in my three raised beds, and preserve as much as possible.

I live in the heart of the farming states in the exact middle of the country. Big farming is the main stay of the state. Most commercial farmers today must maintain 1000s of acres to make a living. It’s done by massive amounts of chemicals dumped on the crop. Yes I said crop. Corn is practically the only crop grown in this state year after year. The soil has hardly any living thing in it because of the fertilizer and pesticides. It’s practically an inert medium that only holds up the plant while be bathed in artificial chemical stimulants. The big thing now is genetically altered corn. The experts claim as long as it passes through the animal, it’s OK to eat the meat. Well, then that’s another story. Beef here is filled with growth hormones that suddenly will disappear, according to beef producers, when stopped two weeks before market.

The water in my city comes with a warning not put it into your fish tank as it will kill the fish. WHAT? The treatment plant has laced it with some kind of chemical that is harmless to us but will kill the fish? Is it some kind of gene hunting chemical that renders itself harmless when it finds human DNA? Gone are the days here when I would even think about eating a fish caught out of a farm pond or river due to the chemical run off from the farmland.

I hope my rambling hasn't bored anyone, but I think that organic local growing will definitely be in the future of those who want to make a difference in the world food/energy problem.

Nebraska Dave

Jan 12, 2010
Local Organic Agriculture Looks Set for a Revival
by: Anonymous

Most things get worse before they get better. The farming industry is like that. And it's definitely become harder and harder to make money from agriculture over the past few decades.

But don't worry - the combination of the upcoming carbon tax combined with peaking global oil supplies will sooner rather than later both make conventional high-input farming more and more expensive. This will lead to a rapid revival of organic farming methods - especially local ones - because they have low carbon/energy intensity.


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