Saturday, May 14, 2011

food policy (that Marketplace report)

I was doing dishes and listening to the public-radio show, Marketplace last week when Pedro Sanchez stated, "If you ask me point blank whether organic-based farming is better than conventional, my answer is no. There are just too many of us, we just need too many nutrients." I was bothered by the report. How can we take as gospel the finding of an individual who's job it is to defend corporate-led agriculture? Where were the questions? Are you telling me when covering a topic as important as the world's food supply it's not necessary to bring in another expert opinion?

Sanchez is trying to answer a very difficult question - will we be able to feed the world in 2050. He has worked with developing nations to solve their food shortage problems by moving them toward what could be described as an American Agribusiness model. Hybrid seeds, pesticides and fertilizers are provided instead of direct food aid, but is this the only way? Instead of spreading our factory farming mess around the world, shouldn't we be supporting the development of safer more sustainable projects? I wanted more facts, more numbers and more opinions, but I wasn't sure where to find them. Eventually I stumbled onto this article by Tom Philpott. He crafted an excellent article which compiles some very interesting information and gave a link to Tom Laskawy's piece which addressed the Marketplace report directly...enough of my ranting, just go there if you're interested in the topic.

Food supply is an incredibly important issue and how we address the problem deserves debate. The approach that Sanchez suggests comes with a cost and the complications are hard to back out of.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Emperor Rudolf II as the harvest god Vertumnus, 1590/91, painting

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