An old but underrated practice that is now a growing concept for the new millennium, organic farming can be the most practical and healthiest way to boost food production and address food insecurity.
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Organic farming is an alternative principle to conventional farming: growing food without the use of synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilizers, genetically modified species, and excessive irrigation. Food insecurity, rapid environmental deterioration, and the rise in the number of people consuming contaminated farm produce made organic farming more popular in recent years. The number of organic growers is rapidly rising and more individuals are finding immense nutritional benefits from eating clean, fresh, and chemical-free farm products.
Organic farming has traditionally been viewed as a cost ineffective strategy to producing food—despite its claims for very minimal environmental and health repercussions. Maintenance isn’t cheap and final prices in the markets could be skyrocketing. However, according to a study conducted by the American Society of Agronomy, organic farming is in fact economically sustainable over the long term.
“An analysis of 18 years of crop yield and farm management data from a long-term trial, an organic crop rotation was consistently more profitable and carried less risk of low returns than conventional corn and soybean production, even when organic prime premiums were cut by half.”
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Setting up organic farms can come with a high price tag, especially when advanced technology is employed (such as LED chlorophyll activation). Upfront costs can easily overwhelm any investor and will inevitably drive high product prices once it gets operational. However, the landscape for organic agriculture is rapidly changing. New farming techniques have been proven to be economically viable and government subsidies are growing. In closed looped organic farms (particularly aquaponics), for example, water is conserved tremendously as it is used in a cyclic but healthy way. In vertical farms, production is more than tripled when compared to a traditional farm land covering the same area.
In regions where strong community relationships exist, organic farms thrive as a private and minimally capitalistic livelihood. Community-based organic farms contribute to good health and nutrition for the population, equal wealth opportunities among farmers, better connections between people (because food is a critical aspect of ethnic cultures), and more liberal decisions for farmers, not corporations, to decide which crops to grow in their farms.
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There is vast potential within the organic farming community for growers, investors, and consumers to tap into. The industry is yet to peak, but as analysts and experts point out, it can be a lucrative opportunity over the long haul.