The Future is Organic (Washington Post article by Arran – Feb 17, 2014)
Growing up on our farm in the ’40’s and ’50’s, I learned from Dad how to nourish our soil with seaweed, crop rotations and deep mulches that produced abundant fruits and vegetables that were the envy of farmer neighbors – all without chemicals. He taught the importance of always leaving the soil better—thus informing the way I endeavor to lead our family enterprise.
We can think of topsoil as a bank where we deposit for our future, and make periodic withdrawals in the form of quality food. By creating and maintaining good soil through sustainable practices, our precious planet can continue to sustain life indefinitely. Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy people. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, that virtuous cycle is no longer the norm. Modern agriculture wages war against Nature with a vast arsenal of genetically modified crops, toxic herbicides and pesticides, with littlethought for the future. Millions of tons of herbicide and pesticide residues, feedlot runoff and excessive use of fertilizers seep into the arteries of our land: the creeks, rivers, water wells and lakes, leaving a trail of pollution, loss of species and ultimately creating dead zones in our seas. Toxins inevitably end up in our food chain, severely impacting the quality and duration of life. There’s a high price for mass produced, cheap food.
We don’t need chemical agriculture or questionable genetically modified crops to meet our threatened world’s growing needs; half the food grown ends up wasted and never finds the bellies of the hungry. According to the United Nations, there’s an Urgent Need To Shift Away From Industrial Agriculture. As humanity faces extreme weather, overpopulation, peak oil, scarcity of land and water, the need for replenishing food systems has never been greater. Herein lies the beauty of the power of organics and permaculture. Organic farming requires 45% less energy and works with Nature to outperform chemical agriculture in years of drought. Organic methods use gentler, non-toxic ways of production, while championing a resurgence of family farms and gardens across the continent. This is a good and enjoyable path to a sustainable future. —Arran Stephens