What we're thinking about

Is organic food all it’s talked up to be?

The biggest study ever carried out comparing organic food to conventional food has just been finished by the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania,

The results speak for themselves.

  • Less energy. Organic systems used 45 per cent less energy than conventional.
  • More efficient. Production efficiency was 28 per cent higher in the organic systems.
  • Soil health in the organic systems increased over time while the conventional systems remain essentially unchanged.
  • Higher yields. Organic corn yields were 31 per cent higher than conventional in years of drought. (These drought yields are remarkable when compared to genetically modified (GM) “drought tolerant” varieties, which showed increases of only 6.7 per cent to 13.3 per cent over conventional (non-drought resistant) varieties.)
  • More profitable. Organic systems were almost three times as profitable as the conventional systems. The average net return for the organic systems was $558/acre/ year versus just $190/acre/year for the conventional systems.
  • Improved water use and reduced flood risk. Organic fields increased groundwater recharge and reduced run-off.  Rather than running off the surface and taking soil with it, rainwater recharged groundwater reserves in the organic systems, with minimal erosion.
  • More local employment. Organic farming also helps sustain rural communities by creating more jobs - organic farms create 30 per cent more jobs per hectare than non-organic.

Hat tip David Boyle at the NEF for pointing these out.

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