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Seven Myths of Industrial Agriculture
Submitted by bruce on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 20:51
Excerpted from the book, Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, edited by Andrew Kimbrell, public interest attorney, activist and author. The book takes an unprecedented look at our current ecologically destructive agricultural system and offers a compelling vision for an organic and environmentally safer way of producing the food we eat.
Industrial agriculture will feed the world.
World hunger is not created by lack of food but by poverty and landlessness, which deny people access to food. Industrial agriculture actually increases hunger by raising the cost of farming, by forcing tens of millions of farmers off the land, and by growing primarily high-profit export and luxury crops.
Industrial food is safe, healthy, and nutritious.
Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illnesses, and obesity are at an all-time high.
Industrial food is cheap.
If you added the real cost of industrial food - its health, environmental, and social costs - to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it.
Industrial agriculture is efficient.
Small farms produce more agricultural output per unit area than large farms. Moreover, larger, less diverse farms require far more mechanical and chemical inputs. These ever increasing inputs are devastating to the environment and make these farms far less efficient than smaller, more sustainable farms.
Industrial food offers more choices.
What the consumer actually gets in the supermarket is an illusion of choice. Food labeling does not tell us what pesticides are on our food or what products have been genetically engineered. Most importantly, the myth of choice masks the tragic loss of tens of thousands of crop varieties caused by industrial agriculture.
Industrial agriculture benefits the environment and wildlife.
Industrial agriculture is the largest single threat to the earth's biodiversity. Fence-row-to-fence-row plowing, planting, and harvesting techniques decimate wildlife habitats, while massive chemical use poisons the soil and water, and kills off countless plant and animal communities.
Biotechnology will solve the problems of industrial agriculture.
New biotech crops will not solve industrial agriculture's problems, but will compound them and consolidate control of the world's food supply in the hands of a few large corporations. Biotechnology will destroy biodiversity and food security, and drive self-sufficient farmers off their land.