Just how good is organic farming?
I attended a lecture that was billed as being about soil ecosystems. The lecture was given by Elaine Ingham, chief scientist of the Rodale Institute. I knew that the Rodale Institute pushes organic farming, so my radar immediately went up.
I did learn some interesting things about the organisms in soil, like the bacteria and micorrhizal fungi that form a symbiotic system in the plant roots. Mostly the lecture was about the superiority of organic farming, along the lines of this. Dr Ingham told of several cases where she and her team visited an ailing farm on the verge of bankruptcy and turned it around by applying compost tea. She spoke of collusions by government and pesticide companies that discourage organic farming.
Checking on the Web, you can see that Elaine Ingham has respectable credentials as a microbiologist. I would like to believe her when she says that organic farming can match the output of green revolution techniques without applying chemicals and with less need for water. The obvious question is why these techniques are not universal if they are so good. Can you shed any light on this?
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