Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Organic Farms will Feed the World

Reuters UK is reporting on the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements’s (IFOAM) reaction to a recent U.N. food summit touting chemical fertilizers and genetically modified (GM) crops rather than organic solutions to tackle world hunger. From the article:
At the U.N. food summit in Rome this month, the World Bank pledged $1.2 billion in grants to help with the food crisis. “The $1.2 billion the World Bank says will solve the food crisis in Africa is a $1.2 billion subsidy to the chemical industry,” said Vandana Shiva, an Indian physics professor and environmental activist speaking at the forum in Modena. “Countries are made dependent on chemical fertilizers when their prices have tripled in the last year due to rising oil prices,” she said. “I say to governments: spend a quarter of that on organic farming and you’ve solved your problems.” She said industrial farming was based on planting a single crop on vast surfaces and heavy use of chemical fertilizers, a process that used 10 times more energy than it produced. “The rest turns into waste as greenhouse gases, chemical runoffs and pesticide residues in our food,” she said. In contrast, organic farms could increase output by 10 times by growing many different species of plants at the same time, which helped retain soil and water, she said. “In a one-acre farm in India they can grow 250 species of plants,” she said.
Read the full article here. As organic farmer Eliot Coleman points out in this video, he can produce—on his small four-season farm in Maine—up to 24 times the number of carrots per acre in a year than a large-scale farming outfit. (And his fields are filled with the biodiversity necessary to support and benefit from the local bee population.)


Sow Seeds: Stop Walking Around Doing Nothing

“In the last one hundred years, 94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the century in America and considered a part of the human commons have been lost.”That’s one of the key takeaways in award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. In her book, Ray […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More

Eight Seed-Saving Myths

You don’t have to move to Svalbard, Norway in order to have access to a seed bank.Author and plant breeder Carol Deppe believes that every gardener should have her own seed bank. Even if you aren’t a seed saver, you should have your own seed bank. Even if you never experience any disaster beyond the […] Read More

Skills: The Gateway to True Homesteading Freedom

There are numerous skills that a homesteader needs to use on any given day; some are learned and others are passed down from homesteader to homesteader.In this excerpt from The Nourishing Homestead, author Ben Hewitt talks about why these skills are important to pass down to each generation, perhaps even if you’re not a hardcore […] Read More
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