Fellows in the News

Fellows:

Lisa Bunin

Fellow Lisa Bunin wrote a report for the GRACE Communications Foundation on conventional and organic crop production practices called The FoodPrint of Crop Production (link will download report, 4.2 MB). It also highlights the environmental and health impacts of conventional agriculture and the benefits of organic.

Introduction

When consumers think about the crops grown in this country they probably think about the spinach, tomatoes, onions, carrots and apples that fill their plates. But what they may not realize is that corn and soy account for 50 percent of all of the crops grown in the United States.1 And, the great majority of these two crops primarily supply animal feed for factory farms.

As hard as it is to believe, crop production is one of the most polluting industries on Earth.2 Growing conventional fruits and vegetables releases billions of pounds of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and other farm chemicals into the environment. Virtually no one escapes exposure to these toxins, found in the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat — even food we think of as the healthiest, like oranges, kale, broccoli and beets. There are enormous health and environmental costs from our present industrial crop production practices: their foodprint is unsustainable.

The good news is that, since the 1940s, farmers, scientists and public interest organizations have been working together to create an alternative, sustainable, organic food system that eschews the use of synthetic, toxic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic agriculture enhances nature’s ecology to fend off pests and diseases and to boost soil nutrients that support resilient plant development. Consumers are, in ever greater numbers, choosing to buy sustainably grown food, and joining the growing movement of people who support farming practices that tread lightly on the earth and help revitalize ecosystems and farming communities.

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