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View Diary: Richard Nixon and the 2000 Mile Tomato (84 comments)

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  •  It's difficult to look at the Hist. of Agriculture (0+ / 0-)

    And not be impressed with how much more efficent it is now than at any other point in history. In 1870 there were 39 million people in the United States, and 29 million of those worked in Agriculture. Now there are 319 million people and only 8 million famers. I can't imagine this transformation being possible without the improvements in farming technology and techniques reviled in this diary.

    Next we'll get a diary warning of the evils of ChickieNobs ;-)

    •  Well, you know, I said right up there in the (6+ / 0-)

      diary that it was impressive....and depressing at the same time.

      If you're impressed that we kicked millions of farmers out so that a few huge mega-farms and industrialized food manufacturers could take over more and more acreage to grow corn and soy to manufacture "food" (i.e. corn syrup and soy isolates), all the while living off of government subsidies when they don't need them so that you and I can buy so-called "cheap" food, well then you have a different viewpoint than I on what is "impressive."

      Or healthy.

      Or sustainable.

      Concerning my next diary, who knows what it will be on? Maybe on GPS controlled tractors and their new texting "farmers" who sit in them all day.

      ;)

      •  I've Always had a soft spot for the Frederick (0+ / 0-)

        Taylors of the world, even though most people tend to revile them. I don't know a lot about Mr Butz, but the little I've read about him in this diary and on Wikipedia casts him in the same mold. While it is customary to reminisce about the halcyon days of the past, short of an apocalypse the earth will never be populated with that few people and life will never move that slowly again. We're going to need even higher food production and efficency if we're going to make it painlessly into the next century and to do that we're going to need to move even further down the path that we're on.

        •  Well I guess you better inform the UN then, (6+ / 0-)

          because they're telling developing countries to forget what they told them before, drop the so-called "efficient" methods we told them to adopt, and go back to their traditional methods of farming.

          Why? You ask?

          Because the "efficient" methods we told them to adopt depleted their soil, became too expensive because they rely on increasing amounts of petroleum based pesticides and inputs, and haven't increased their yields beyond what they achieved with their traditional methods.

          Some myths (chemical/industrial farming will feed the world!) just never die.

           

          •  You can argue traditional farming from a (0+ / 0-)

            sustainability perspective, but I've never seen an argument for it from a yield perspective. Even with best-practice traditional farming you'd still need to increase the land devoted to farming by 20% over what is in use currently to feed the world, and I'm not sure that farmland exists.

            •  It depends on the crop (2+ / 0-)

              Some crops that are grown organically do yield as well as conventional.  Others do not.  

              However, with an emphasis on selecting varieties that do yield better or by selecting seeds from plants that are producing high yields for the next growing season the organic industry can move towards better yields.

              I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

              by DamselleFly on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 05:55:46 AM PST

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            •  "short of an apocalypse"?Like maybe GW/CC? (0+ / 0-)

              I am continually amazed by all the people who somehow don't realize that melting off all the ice on this planet (not an if, just a when), no matter what the heating does to the climate, is the death sentence for human civilization and possibly the race.
              Does the thought "it can't possibly affect me" produce such blindness?

              Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizzam!

              by fourthcornerman on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 06:09:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well then I guess you've never seen this: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              peregrine kate, Mi Corazon

              Organic Farms Produce Same Yields As Conventional Farms

              Or this:

              Can Organic Farming Feed Us All?

              Or this analysis which acknowledges that yield differences aren't as important as something else.

              Lastly, we can produce tons and tons of low nutrient food all we want. And deplete our soil, increase health problems, and continue to line the pockets of a very few corporations.

              OR, we can produce high nutrient food, that increases soil fertility, and may just help re-establish the family farm on the current land we have.
              Again, the research is very clear on this matter concerning soil fertility and nutrient density.

              This exchange has demonstrated one thing for me: That the legacy of Earl Butz continues to haunt us and the myth that chemical/industrial farming is the only way to "feed the world" Just. Won't. Die.

              •  Certainly there are other issues aside from crop (0+ / 0-)

                yields. The current population of the Earth is using an Earth and a half's worth of resources every year, so at some point we will have to scale back our consumption. But I would still like to believe that the solution lies with efficency and technological improvement, rather than a return to the relative austerity of past centuries.

                •  Efficiency? (0+ / 0-)

                  Are you saying that growing tomatoes in Chile and flying them, along with flowers and a bunch of other agricultural products, to North America, and then shuttling them out to a bunch of chain stores, where people drive to in huge gas guzzling SUVs, is somehow the most efficient use of earth's resources?  Really?

                  Come on.  You are buying into the corporate group think model that they, and only they, the ones who have poisoned our waters, polluted our air, ruined our climate, destroyed our rural communities, and multiplied cancer cases by a thousand fold in a little more than a generation, that only they have the answers we need to survive in the future.

                  Choose your sides carefully my friend.

                  Industrial food production in America ruins our health, our environment and consumes more fossil fuel than any segment of our economy.

                  by Mi Corazon on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 04:27:20 PM PST

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    •  Reviling technology & techniques (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Methinks They Lie, CA wildwoman

      Well, I didn't see the diary in this light.  There is often a high price to pay for efficiency and farming methods, which is not always reflected simply in the price we pay out-of-pocket for a head of lettuce.

      But I would never begrudge anyone their ChickieNobs. ;)

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:55:12 PM PST

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