Organic farming benefits from special derogations in public discourse — it in fact does not face the same scrutiny as other methods of farming. And yet, organic farming presents many downsides that are not at all compatible with sustainability, by any reasonable definition of that term. For a number of reasons, including its low yields and the consequent need to bring more land into agricultural production, organic farming is particularly detrimental to biodiversity.
WHAT IF WE TRIED TO FEED THE WORLD ONLY WITH ORGANIC FOOD?
Research has established that moving all current farming to organic farming would increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 70%. Researchers analysed the hypothetical move of Welsh and English farm production to organic and found that reduced crop yields in organic farming increased the need to import food from overseas. Including the GHGs emitted growing that food abroad — a part of the equation often ignored advocates of organic agriculture — total GHGs emitted would increase between 21% in the best-case scenario to an astounding 70%, depending on how much natural habitat and forest had to be cleared to make up for the decline caused by England’s and Wales’ switch to organic production.
For the European Union, which aims at a 25% organic production target in Europe, the impact of overseas imports would be even more considerable. While the study assumed England and Wales would import the majority of the extra food they needed from Europe, a 25% organic EU would be making up its production deficits by importing food grown in less developed countries with considerably less efficient farming methods, which would significantly increase emissions.
Adding to that, we know that premiums for organic food products average at about 100%, which means that consumers pay for less sustainable food products while believe they are doing the exact opposite. A move to a 100% organic agricultural landscape would thereby significantly increase food prices, which would be devastating for those consumers who are on low incomes.
This website sets out to identify what a supermarket in an organic-only world would look like.
100% Organic Food Store
€ 3,50 /kg
€ 1,75 /kg21% more CO2
€ 3,46 /kg
€ 1,73 /kg21% more CO2
€ 2,28 /L
€ 1,14 /L21% more CO2
SUPPORT SCIENCE-BASED FARMING POLICIES
Organic farming presents many downsides that are not at all compatible with sustainability. A move to a 100% organic agricultural landscape would increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 70% and would significantly increase food prices, which would be devastating for those consumers who are on low incomes.
We need science-based policies to effectively and rationally fight climate change and not unrealistic measures that will further worsen the problem. Please consider supporting the Consumer Choice Center in the fight against the mainstream discourse that are influencing policymakers worldwide.