The Farming Systems Trial is the name of a 'side-by-side' comparison between organic farming on the one hand and conventional farming on the other. Carried out by the Rodale Institute in the USA, the findings make very encouraging reading for anyone interested in seeing improvements in the health of humanity and the planet as a whole.
The trials began back in 1981 as research into the transition from chemical driven conventional farming to organic. Results from this early work showed that organic - after an initial fall in output- surpassed the performance of conventional farming!
Here's a taste of the general flavour of the report:
"The hallmark of a truly sustainable system is its ability to regenerate itself. When it comes to farming, the key to sustainable agriculture is healthy soil, since this is the foundation for present and future growth.Organic farming is far superior to conventional systems when it comes to building, maintaining and replenishing the health of the soil. For soil health alone, organic agriculture is more sustainable than conventional.
When one also considers yields, economic viability, energy usage, and human health, it’s clear that organic farming is sustainable, while current conventional practices are not.
As we face uncertain and extreme weather patterns, growing scarcity and expense of oil, lack of water, and a growing population, we will require farming systems that can adapt, withstand or even mitigate these problems while producing healthy, nourishing food."
After 30 years of research, comparing organic farming with conventional systems, the Rodale Institute has demonstrated that organic farming is better equipped to produce food now and into the future.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- Organic yields match conventional yields.
- Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.
- Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter,
making it a more sustainable system.
- Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.
- Conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.
- Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.
Read the full report booklet pdf here: http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/FSTbooklet.pdf