Industrial Farming Strip Mines Agricultural Land

By B. McPherson

                                             Video: The Seven Myths of Industrial Agriculture

One of the things that every person can do to help the environment is to purchase food in a mindful way.   The Union of Concerned Scientists is urging their fellow citizens to take an active interest in how their food is produced. They are urging Americans to participate and show support for a new farm bill that is expected to pass in 2012. There is a proposal to level the field for sustainable farmers who provide food to local markets. Currently, governments of the US and Canada are increasingly favouring industrial farming operations. Subsidies paid to big, monocrop operations disadvantage farmers who maintain mixed, sustainable and organic acreage.

The routine application of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, most of which are petroleum based, eventually exhausts the fertility of the soil. Healthy soil is a vibrant mix of microbes, nematodes, earthworms, insects and a varied mix of organic material. The industrial method of farming could be compared to a person on speed forced to perform until they collapse. Large fields stripped of hedgerows allow wind to erode exposed soil. Super sized crop machinery further damages the soil by compressing it, closing up air pockets and making it difficult for plant roots to penetrate.

Many people do not realize that their tax money goes to pay subsidies to these industries.

The subsidies allow the over production of cheap commodity crops which can be used to produce ethanol, cheap processed foods and cheap fodder for confined animal feeding operations(CAFOs). Those are the egg production, swine operations, cattle feed lots where the animals are treated like widgets in a factory.
The Union of Concerned Scientists are asking those who want to see sustainable farming get a fairer shake in the future to sign theirletter to Congress

There is a myth circulating that the only way that the world’s hungry can be fed is by converting farmland to industrial operations. That is what it is, a myth. Small and medium holdings can produce abundantly while respecting the land.

While eggs, meat, grains and vegetables may seem cheaper than sustainably grown foods, there can well be a trade off in the nutrition, taste and damage to the environment. Now we are learning that the old saying, “You are what you eat” may be more true that we ever suspected. A team of Chinese scientists have detected traces of vegetables eaten in the bloodstream of people that have eaten them. The tiny particles, microRNAs, seem to be able to cross the gut and enter the blood stream. These micro-particles can interact with our own blood chemicals.  For the full article on this go to Discover Magazine online or Discover Magazine, January/February 2012.

Everyone can do something to make this world a better place. Why not start with what you put into your mouth?

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