Test your knowledge of the virtues of veganic farming!
True of false: Most long-term studies of best agricultural practices demonstrate the benefits of modern industrial farming techniques, including the introduction of genetically modified organisms into the food chain.
OK, this one is pretty easy: Resoundingly false. As we’ve seen in earlier posts, two of the most respected long-term agricultural studies provide solid and ongoing proof that techniques favored by veganic farmers are good for the land, for the wider ecosystem, and for the health of the consumer.
A few highlights from the Rodale Institute and Kellogg Biological Station studies:
“After thirty years of a rigorous side-by-side comparison, the Rodale Institute confidently concludes organic methods are improving the quality of our food, improving the health of our soils and water, and improving our nation’s rural areas. Organic agriculture is creating more jobs, providing a livable income for farmers, and restoring America’s confidence in our farming community and food system.”
“Soil health in the organic systems has increased over time while the conventional systems remain essentially unchanged.” (Rodale)
“Corn and soybean crops in the organic systems tolerated much higher levels of weed competition than their conventional counterparts, while producing equivalent yields. This is especially significant given the rise of herbicide-resistant weeds in conventional systems, and speaks to the increased health and productivity of the organic soil . . .” (Rodale)
“Traditional plant breeding and farming methods have increased yields of major grain crops three to four times more than GM [genetically modified] varieties despite huge investments of public and private dollars in biotech research.” (Rodale)
“There are 197 species of herbicide-resistant weeds, many of which can be linked directly back to GM crops, and the list keeps growing. GM crops have led to an explosion in herbicide use as resistant crops continue to emerge.” (Rodale)
“Cover crops enhance soil structure while increasing soil biota activity. They reduce soil compaction while increasing water percolation and retention. Cover crops help soils maintain a higher organic matter level than continuous row cropping without cover. They also improve soil aggregation, infiltration and bulk density.” (Kellogg)
“Cover crops can play a role in managing weeds by shading and interfering with weed germination and establishment. Cereal rye produces allelochemicals which suppress weeds.” (Kellogg)
“Habitat stability and perenniality matter. Conventional, annual cropping systems disrupt communities of soil microbes and beneficial insects through yearly tillage and use of nutrients and pesticides, reducing the ability of these organisms to cycle nutrients, remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and suppress pests.” (Kellogg)