RS 301 - Organic Farming Term Paper - Lloyd 1 S Lloyd...

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Lloyd 1 S. Lloyd Professor Wolf RS 301 Fall, 2009 Organic Farming Currently, there exists an organic farming movement that is evidenced in the growing quantity of products labeled “Organic,” that line our grocery stores, tax our pocketbooks, and eventually make their way onto our pantry shelves. [ 1] And not surprisingly, this positive growth trend has provoked agricultural discussion. Furthermore, the organic farming conversation is essentially an economic debate between conventional and organic farming interests, where each side asserts a greater yield based profit, with minimal negative environmental consequences. [ 2] Additionally, Claire Cummings offers an interesting perspective in her essay, Ripe for Change: Agricultures Tipping Point : The story of agriculture is usually told as an epic struggle between people and nature… and while it looks to some as if people have the upper hand, with food production keeping up with population growth, others say industrial agriculture is laying waste to soil, water, forests, wildlife, and traditional farming communities. [ 3] I think Cumming’s statement succeeds in capturing the gravity of our current global situation, by introducing a few of the diverse issues associated with the ongoing organic versus conventional farming debate. She associates environmental and economic difficulties with the industrial agriculture model that remains globally dominant. [ 3] My initial reaction to the issues presented is that they indicate the emergence of broader issues that could permanently change, or destroy our fragile ecosystem. I believe that such a scenario would not only threaten our current technological, agricultural, economical, and social situations,
Lloyd 2 but our very survival as a species. I intend to further examine the viability of organic farming with a thoughtful analysis of what I consider to be, more urgent and compelling issues that could potentially threaten our existence. My objective is to define the role of organic farming in our global economy with an objective examination of the opportunities and constraints associated with the organic farming model. I will also consider certain actions that could support organic processes. With a clear set of goals, I feel compelled to revisit the Cummings essay. Again, I was impressed with shear gravitas of her analysis. She supports my initial human extinction response in the following quote: Then suddenly, as in any good drama, while the forces of good and evil are having it out, something happens to raise the stakes. Now, lumbering onto center stage comes a real monster, global warming, and the conflict shifts from being about how we feed ourselves to whether we survive at all. [ 3] At the risk of appearing melodramatic, I find Cumming’s interpretation of our current situation provocative, compelling, and plausible.

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