Cucumbers first harvest

Posted by Green Earth 11/06/2016 0 Comment(s) General News,

The cucumbers are in full flight in our tunnels and they are one of my favourite crops.  I love the flowers, I love how they grow, they grapple onto lines with little tentacles and they are super efficient, producing a cucumber every 2-3 days.

 

Our ability to produce so much more food for so much less seems to be a miracle of modern day farming.  Can we continue producing more and more food using current modern agricultural practices? Are mega farms, producing 35,000 chickens a day the bright future of modern efficient farming practices?

A recent report suggests that the answer to these questions is no. The report demonstrates that a more sustainable approach to agriculture and food production will deliver more value for our planet and our health than the current system and we may not have any choice but to adopt this approach to food production if we are to continue to thrive as a species.

One of the most common arguments against a shift away from the current agricultural system is that “sustainable farming cannot produce the food we will need to feed an extra 3 billion people by 2050”.  Nobody seems to stop and ask if the world can sustain this level of population growth, and if the population grows by this amount what additional pressures will the requirement for more food from conventional agriculture put on a planet already struggling to provide for the current population. 

This new report shows that ecological farming has many benefits; it is responsible for keeping carbon in the ground and hence reducing the CO2 emissions that are contributing to global warming (current agricultural practices produce one third of all global emissions),  it protects our water and it enhances our health.  Sustainable agriculture benefits the many.

The current modern food production process is designed to generate  maximum profit for the few. Major global agri-businesses that supply the chemicals and products required to sustain these systems and the giant food conglomerates that process the raw materials, generate vast profits from this system of food production they are the real winners.

The laws of science show that you can’t create matter from nothing, and if you produce something for the least possible cost then something must be sacrificed. There can be no shortcuts.  For instance, the excessive use of antibiotics and growth promoters, and the suffering of the animals in factory conditions produce poor quality and tasteless meat. In vegetable production the exploitation of workers, the coating of plants with herbicides and pesticides, pollution of our water systems and the erosion of the soil is the price we pay for our cheap vegetables.

However big business is not having it all it’s own way, and two recent very different but equally powerful announcements reflect the changing attitude to food. The introduction of a sugar tax in the UK in an attempt to reduce obesity is a giant step forward in processed food regulation. The decision by the EU to review and delay Monsanto’s  licence renewal for the use of roundup pending more scientific evidence on its safety represents a momumental positive first step towards removing this “probable carcinogen” from our food chain.

In both cases the multinationals and powerful lobbying groups fought tooth and nail against these decisions.

As I amble back to my polytunnel I am under no illusion that with a couple of hundred cucumber plants I am going to dominate the world cucumber market, (thankfully, it is not a deep seated ambition of mine!) but I do know that each inch of soil in our tunnels is used efficiently and sustainably and I would hazard a guess that our organic production levels per plant are not that much less than their conventional cousins.

Here’s to sustainable cucumbers,

Kenneth

The cucumbers are in full flight in our tunnels and they are one of my favourite crops.  I love the flowers, I love how they grow, they grapple onto lines with little tentacles and they are super efficient, producing a cucumber every 2-3 days.

Our ability to produce so much more food for so much less seems to be a miracle of modern day farming.  Can we continue producing more and more food using current modern agricultural practices? Are mega farms, producing 35,000 chickens a day the bright future of modern efficient farming practices?

A recent report suggests that the answer to these questions is no. The report demonstrates that a more sustainable approach to agriculture and food production will deliver more value for our planet and our health than the current system and we may not have any choice but to adopt this approach to food production if we are to continue to thrive as a species.

One of the most common arguments against a shift away from the current agricultural system is that “sustainable farming cannot produce the food we will need to feed an extra 3 billion people by 2050”.  Nobody seems to stop and ask if the world can sustain this level of population growth, and if the population grows by this amount what additional pressures will the requirement for more food from conventional agriculture put on a planet already struggling to provide for the current population. 

This new report shows that ecological farming has many benefits; it is responsible for keeping carbon in the ground and hence reducing the CO2 emissions that are contributing to global warming (current agricultural practices produce one third of all global emissions),  it protects our water and it enhances our health.  Sustainable agriculture benefits the many.

The current modern food production process is designed to generate  maximum profit for the few. Major global agri-businesses that supply the chemicals and products required to sustain these systems and the giant food conglomerates that process the raw materials, generate vast profits from this system of food production they are the real winners.

The laws of science show that you can’t create matter from nothing, and if you produce something for the least possible cost then something must be sacrificed. There can be no shortcuts.  For instance, the excessive use of antibiotics and growth promoters, and the suffering of the animals in factory conditions produce poor quality and tasteless meat. In vegetable production the exploitation of workers, the coating of plants with herbicides and pesticides, pollution of our water systems and the erosion of the soil is the price we pay for our cheap vegetables.

However big business is not having it all it’s own way, and two recent very different but equally powerful announcements reflect the changing attitude to food. The introduction of a sugar tax in the UK in an attempt to reduce obesity is a giant step forward in processed food regulation. The decision by the EU to review and delay Monsanto’s  licence renewal for the use of roundup pending more scientific evidence on its safety represents a momumental positive first step towards removing this “probable carcinogen” from our food chain.

In both cases the multinationals and powerful lobbying groups fought tooth and nail against these decisions.

As I amble back to my polytunnel I am under no illusion that with a couple of hundred cucumber plants I am going to dominate the world cucumber market, (thankfully, it is not a deep seated ambition of mine!) but I do know that each inch of soil in our tunnels is used efficiently and sustainably and I would hazard a guess that our organic production levels per plant are not that much less than their conventional cousins.

Here’s to sustainable cucumbers,

Kenneth

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