Farming is very important to keep the people of this planet fed. But with the planet’s population on the rise and thousands of people dying of starvation each day it is very important that we continue to find ways to support this population growth. There are many different benefits and costs to newer farming methodology.
Sustainable Farming Methods
Before we get into some of the environmental effects of sustainable farming, let’s talk about some of the newer farming practices that are:
- Vertical Farming: This is a farming tactic which is generally conducted indoors by stacking crops almost to make them like a tower. This really helps to conserve land by expanding vertically instead of horizontally. However, as you may expect starting a vertical is significantly more expensive than traditional farming which could lead to the increase in price in good farmed in this way.
- Permaculture: This farming method where farmers attempt to mimic the natural environment in order to improve the health and efficiency of the growth of the plant being farmed. The problem with this farming method is that it is hard to scale. Although it may be good for small farms or gardens, it would be incredibly difficult and potentially costly to replicate on a larger scale.
- Regenerative Farming: This farming strategy mainly focuses on soil conservation and restoration of soil. This employs a variety of different sub-strategies including composting and crop rotation (changing up the crops a farmer plants to conserve soil nutrients).
There are many other sustainable farming methods which are consistently being developed and created.
Impacts on Soil
Soil health is incredibly important to farming. Traditional farming practices can have very negative impacts on soil. Some of these practices include bush burning to get rid of shrubs to clear land for farming, applying lots of fertilizer full of harmful chemicals in order to keep pests off crops, and over farming areas can all deplete the essential soil nutrients overtime. Additionally, the use of chemicals can be harmful to those that consumer the crop or the food that crop produces.
Sustainable farming practices tend to work to preserve soil health. According to World Atlas, some sustainable farming practices include things such as rotating crops which is changing up the crops you plant on your land to help soil nutrients stay plentiful and adding animals into the farm environment as well for many reasons including more foot traffic on the land and increased fertilizer which is good for both crop and soil health. However, according to many sources the use of pesticides continues to grow.
Genetically Modified Organisms
Genetically modified organisms are becoming more and more commonly used due to the high demand for food. These GMOs can be used in farming for both plants and animals and from an environmental standpoint it could be stated that these are good. This is taking into consideration that they can conserve soil quality through making fewer buy larger items, reduce the use of need of pesticides by making plants and animals more disease resistant, and in many other ways. However, according to national geographic GMOs were only introduced in the mid 1990’s and today around 90% of corn and soybeans are GMOs.
With that being said, the health effects of human consumption of those genetically modified organisms are heavily debated. Some say that consuming these GMOs causes no health issues and are completely safe to eat while others argue that consumption can lead to cancer and other major health issues.
Our world is constantly changing, and our farming practices are included in that. Throughout the research process that went into the blog it is very clear that there are many different opinions of which the majority have very good evidence to support their claims, so be sure to do your own research and let us know what you think! Follow the link below to get to our LinkedIn where you can comment your thoughts under our post about this blog!