Organic Farming, the most Sustainable form of Commercial Agriculture

Aug 8, 2019 by

If one visits super markets, one will be fascinated by the shelves full of colorful products of foods in various shapes and sizes. This is an advertisement. Advertisement is nothing but means to make you unhappy with what you have. The production of those goods depends on how people consume even though people consume in a way undermining the basic element of our life system. In reality, we are unaware of the only very few, huge international enterprises that are dominating our current food system.

Reality is different. Our food production at the global stage is not sustainable. We are facing problems of global change such as hunger, malnutrition and super nutrition. Amongst these, one of the major threats we are facing is the loss of biodiversity.

Alternative food-ways are the solution that could feed billions of people sustainably. With the agenda of a paradigm shift in the agriculture sector, the Food and Agriculture Organization has established a global agenda for a global and sustainable food system with increased production.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report recommends the need of a paradigm shift in agriculture and food policy towards more sustainability. It states “we need an agro-ecological evolution in agriculture, food production and consumption. Business as usual is not an option“. The report recommends organic food production as a general model.

Respecting nature, not using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, disease-resistant plants, crop rotations, helping animals to adapt to the local environment, keeping free-range livestock and not using GMOs are the principles on which organic farming is based.

It may seem discouraging to note that only 1.1% of the world’s total agricultural land is certified organic. However, since its introduction, organic farming has been growing constantly and there is an advantage in the growth. One can observe a reduction in cost while food is produced in high quantity and organic quality for everybody at affordable prices.

Agriculture farming can be much more sustainable through the adoption of organic technologies. Organic farming without pesticides reduces pollution, sustains ecosystem, increases soil fertility, and is better for the human society. This type of farming is argued to be met with a higher level of acceptance by the public and a reduction of production costs.

Amongst alternatives like permaculture, food sovereignty, alternative food networks, civic food networks and zero waste shops, the permaculture farming addresses social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability. It supports rural farmers in improving their livelihoods, health and reducing their costs of inputs. This system emphasizes the alternative agricultural practices at the national level with strengthened cooperation between producers and consumers, especially in the least developed countries.

Alternative food-ways with the model of Agriculture Food Networks (AFNs) could be a possible way to achieve the SDG of eradicating hunger by ensuring the social and environmental sustainability of food systems.

Written by: Rajendra Pandit & Gembo Tshering

Based on the lectures “Alternative Foodways: Community Supported Agriculture and Foodcoops”, held by Friedrich Leitgeb and “Democratic banks”, held by Bart Jan Krouwel during AEMS 2019.