I’ve come out of letter-writing retirement with an acerbic missive to the Des Moines Register. I was responding to a couple of letters-to-the-editor criticizing organic farming. I did not read the original article.
My letter is as follows:
Two letters to the editor on February 21 complain about favorable coverage of organic farming, citing, among other things, that organic produce requires more land for cultivation because of their lower yields.
Might the same ethic that drives people to buy foods with a lesser impact on the land also drive them to eat less and to waste less? Better consumption habits would go a long way toward offsetting the demand for farmland caused by lower output.
When you see someone squeeze their 400-pound frame into a booth at the Chinese buffet every Wednesday afternoon to gorge on the early-bird special, consider whether that person is a regular purchaser of organic food or not. I doubt it.
My guess is that the letters were written by farmers who don’t farm organically, and don’t like favorable coverage of the practice. I know very little about farming, but I suspect there are stong links among industrial agriculture, farm subsidies, cheap food, obesity, waste, and environmental degradation. Just a hunch.