Imagine eating fruit--ostensibly for health benefits--that contaminate your system. Food that makes you sick. Soil that is polluted and barren of nutrients. Crap we are serving our children and grand children.
This is an important article. Think about this para " Agriculture is the world’s largest industry, with 1 billion people engaged in farming worldwide. Pasture and cropland use about 50 percent of the earth’s habitable land. Agriculture also is one of the worst-polluting industries on the planet — even though it could be one of the most powerful forces for good."
We hope that is enough to get your attention. And help farmers produce quality products.
Buying and eating apples seems a pretty healthy thing to do. But a new study has found that every 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of conventionally grown apples creates health effects costing 21 cents due to the effects of pesticides and fungicides, resulting in sick leave and eventually shorter life expectancies.
The study, from the Dutch organization Soil & More Impacts, to be published at the end of May, highlights a key problem: The price you pay for apples in the store doesn’t cover the hidden costs of producing them. Instead, these are paid for by society — through the ever-increasing costs of health care and health insurance.
The apple example is not an outlier; it’s indicative of the bigger picture. Agriculture is the world’s largest industry, with 1 billion people engaged in farming worldwide. Pasture and cropland use about 50 percent of the earth’s habitable land. Agriculture also is one of the worst-polluting industries on the planet — even though it could be one of the most powerful forces for good.
It’s easy for people to distance themselves from the problem. Most people aren’t farmers and don’t think about these issues daily. But it’s the food choices we make every day that feed into our farming practices.
Conventional farming practices focus on monocultures, genetically modified organism (GMO) seed use and pesticides, polluting both crops and groundwater, as well as conventional plowing methods that result in topsoil erosion. Regenerative farming practices use no pesticides and non-GMO seeds and focus on ecosystem diversity, crop rotation, composting and no-till cultivation (growing crops without disrupting the soil).
Data from a 2014 white paper from the Rodale Institute, a nonprofit that supports regenerative farming, suggests that we could soak up more than 100 percent of the current annual global carbon dioxide emissions with a full switch to regenerative agriculture.
The point: It’s our choice. And we make these decisions every day. As an economist, I have always believed that changing the economy starts with changing farming and food. Even though the recent movement for localizing farm and food cycles has changed the face of the industry across many regions, mainstream global agriculture is still in the grip of major companies like Monsanto that have built their business model around perpetuating the old model that makes farmers dependent on their pesticides, herbicides and GMO seeds.
As with the apples, this model damages the environment and people’s health, which society has to pay to fix. A 2011 water study in France, for example, found that the amount of tax money that the country was spending to clean up water that had been polluted through conventional farming, mainly because of pesticide use, was roughly equal to the amount spent on groceries nationally that year. In other words, if people paid the real cost of groceries, they would be paying about twice as much.
The same has been found for the U.K. A November 2017 study found the real costs of conventionally produced food in the U.K. are 100 percent higher than current market prices. Every British pound of food sales comes with another pound of hidden costs to society, through, among other repercussions, environmental pollution, ill health related to production and diet-related diseases