SHIFTCON WORKSHOP: How Science–How Organic Agriculture is Improving the Environment
The Organic Center presents a workshop Hot Science–How Organic Agriculture is Improving Our Environment with some of the scientists that know this issue best.
- Moderator–Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association
- Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs, The Organic Center;
- Dr. Tracy Misiewicz, Associate Director of Science Programs, The Organic Center
WHAT: Hot Science–How Organic Agriculture is Improving Our Environment
SPONSOR: The Organic Center
WHEN: Friday, December 2nd
TIME: 4pm CST
Over 330 million acres of land in the United States are devoted to conventional, chemical-based farming. While the U.S. agricultural system is highly productive, it is also a major source of pollution contributing to the degradation of our water, air, soil and biodiversity. Numerous long- and short-term studies have demonstrated organic has an important role in improving the health of our planet. This presentation showcases the latest body of research on how organic farming can help improve our planet.
Soil Health: Soil health is the basis of our food system, yet many farming practices deplete soil health. Healthy soils provide the base of our food web and can help curb climate change. Numerous research studies show that organic farming systems improve soil health and capture more carbon when compared to conventional farming methods. The more carbon that is kept out of the air, the less that will rise up and trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.
Water Quality: Nutrient contamination is a major water quality concern in agricultural regions where plant nutrients – especially nitrogen – are susceptible to leaching into our water supply. In a first of its kind study, the Organic Water Quality experiment at the Iowa State University has found that the organic farming systems consistently reduced water-polluting nitrogen runoff. These results suggest that adoption of organic farming practices can play a major role in improving water quality in agricultural areas.
Biodiversity: The intensification of agriculture is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss worldwide. Vast sections of our agricultural areas are planted with only one or two crops. Analysis of many data sets from studies conducted worldwide suggest that organic farming promotes the diversity of beneficial groups of animals such as honey bees and other pollinators and insect predators.
Climate Change: Food production accounts for around 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is expected to increase as food production demands grow. Organic agriculture is well positioned to provide positive contributions to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides – the manufacturing of which comprises as much as 10% of direct global agricultural emissions. Furthermore, organic farming systems produce lower nitrous oxide emissions than conventional systems when calculated per acre.