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May 23, 2014


Dennis Dimick


Thanks for writing. You might get better discussion on this if you sign in at National Geographic where the original post was and place your great comment there.

Suffice to say, organic, ecological, transitional, and large-scale farms are all going to be needed. This can't be one or the other. To say we can abandon one in favor of the other is not supported by the data just released by USDA on the U.S. farm census. (Though I know this is a global challenge requiring a range of ways of attacking this.)

What the recently released US farm census found: 75 percent of farms produce 3 percent of harvests; four percent of farms produce nearly 2/3 of harvest. Despite growth in the sector, all organic output made up less than one percent of harvest.

census here http://www.agcensus.usda.gov

Also, the rub is that we are rapidly urbanizing all over the world. By mid-century more people will be living in cities than are alive today. Based on current output trends (see above) small-scale, CSA, and other types of farms, though helpful, will not be able to meet the need.

Mark Davis

Dennis, what about thinking outside the box on food production? We need more corn, wheat, and rice (and add soy)? I believe it's these crops that are leading to an often over fed yet malnourished Ameircan population. Too much subsidized, low quality food. We are ultimately eating nothing but sugar with low quality vitamins and minerals added back into the boxes of "food" we buy at the store. I know your article has more of a global focus, but can't we start having a conversation about other ways? Where and how has more grain crops really helped us? Why stay with a broken model? It's journalists' responsibility to get some other ideas out there. What about relying more on grass fed meat? It better for the environment, relies less on fossil fuels, and is more nutrient dense that grain fed options? I think just mentioning other options in the mainstream media will help lead us down more prosperous roads.

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