Organic farming more sustainable than conventional farming

The conventional agribusiness community frequently attacks organic farming as if it were a major threat, even though organic farming currently accounts for less than 1% of global agricultural land use and is growing at a slow rate. A recent study from Rodale Institute, one of the best known of North American organic agriculture and organic gardening advocates, indicates that organic agriculture is indeed better for the environment than conventional agriculture.

The Rodale report derives from a 30 year side by side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. Over this time period the study finds that:

  • organic yields match conventional yields.
  • organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.
  • organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
  • organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.
  • conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.
  • organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.

The Rodale Farming Systems Trial 30-year Report is available at http://rodaleinstitute.org/our-work/farming-systems-trial/

A new Worldwatch Institute Vital Signs report on worldwide organic farming trends is available for a small fee (summary is free) at http://www.worldwatch.org/certified-organic-farmland-still-lagging-worldwide 

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