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UK Soil Association challenges New Scientist claim that organic farming is not sustainable

| | December 6, 2016
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[Editor’s note: This article is a response to Michael Le Page’s recent article in New Scientist on why organic farming is less sustainable than conventional farming, especially those that grow genetically engineered crops, which dramatically reduce the need for carbon-releasing tilling.]

…Michael Le Page is wrong to tell people not to eat organic if they care about the planet. He misreads the evidence, which shows organic farming is generally the better choice.

…Models show that simply producing food more efficiently is not going to make a big enough… dent in greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, the big win comes from us eating a different mix of foods, particularly less but better meat. How can you find that better meat, fed mainly on grass and not on crops from deforested land? Look for an organic label.

. . . .

Le Page is wrong to suggest that organic food has a higher GHG footprint, according to a recent review of the evidence. … Adjusting for lower yields, there isn’t a consistent and significant difference between organic and non-organic foods per unit product.

Le Page’s excitement about GM is a red herring at best. For a start it is grown largely as a feed crop, so is implicated in the problem….[T[here is also evidence that GM crops have had little if any productivity advantage, despite enthusiasts’ assumptions that they must.

Organic farming does not have all the answers and there is more, even in organic systems, that can be done to reduce emissions and improve our impact on the environment. Nor does it let us off the hook from changing our diets. But it certainly can help, now and into the future, to achieve the best impact we can through those dietary choices.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: ‘New Scientist’ Misinterprets Organic

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