Industrial Farming: The Ecological Damage and the Hidden Costs

More than 90 percent of Americans have detectable concentrations of pesticide in their bodies, mostly from eating industrialized agriculture grown food.

Industrial Farming: The Ecological Damage and the Hidden Costs
Image by: Spencer Pugh

The world’s population is growing, and that’s a fact a popular one to be precise. Should farmers turn to industrial farming to double food production? Do farmers need fertilizers? Is genetic engineering the way forward? 

If the answer to these questions is a YES, then the results wouldn’t be different from the havoc of a pandemic or wars.

The food we eat today is either grown naturally or is enhanced by spraying it with pesticides or genetically modified or applying chemical fertilizers.

Agriculture is rapidly advancing to keep up with modern technology and culture, but small, diverse farms producing a variety of crops and livestock, have either transitioned or are left with little or no choice but to transition to an industrialized system.

Spraying pesticides on strawberry plants in California. (Todd Bigelow)

Industrialized agriculture favors corporate chemical-controlled agriculture giving farmers little or no support to any other pathway, so farmers stop practices that keep the soil healthy and the environment unpolluted. 

These farmers adopt single crop cultivation and cramp livestock into polluting factories. To keep this unnatural system going, farmers buy expensive chemical fertilizers, antibodies, genetically modified crops, toxic pesticides from corporations. 

The problem is that pests become more resistant so farmers have to use more chemicals. Harmful use of antibiotics in animals (as a way to offset the foul conditions). The soil loses its natural fertility, so farmers buy and use more chemical fertilizers from corporations who reap the benefits while farmers see their profits go for nothing.

Many farmers who buy into the promise that industrial farming is the way to feed the ever-growing population, get trapped by debt and dependency.

As long as there are on-going debates about gun control and climate change, we are always going to have people and policies supporting industrial farming.

But we have a better way of farming that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, and enhance ecosystem services. 

Image by: Paige Cody Source: unsplash.com

Sustainable farming does not tolerate unnatural chemicals. Sustainable farmers build healthy soil by planting a variety of crops and rotating them. They raise their livestock on farms, not in cramp factories, and increase food production while preserving our ecological system. 

Industrialized farming doesn’t reliably grow more food in the future or even today. It causes soil infertility and depletion. Industrialized farmers use millions of pounds of antibiotics, a practice that leads to dangerous new bacteria (Studies show that industrialized agriculture workers are at risk from potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria; workers can also bring these bacteria home). They also produce toxic runoff that pollutes our rivers, our oceans, and us. 

More than 90 percent of Americans have detectable concentrations of pesticide in their bodies, mostly from eating industrialized agriculture grown food. This is definitely not going to boost our immune system to fight against viruses or any bacteria harmful to our well being.

The food we eat is meant to boost our immune system to fight against viruses or any bacteria harmful to our well being, but it seems the other way round in most cases.

The researchers identified six pesticides that, with repeated exposure, doubled the risk of skin cancer among farmers and other workers who applied the chemicals to crops.

So, sustainable farming is good for the farmers, us, and the environment. This farming practice is safe, more nutritious, and can feed the growing population. These farmers don’t have to follow the chemical path to increase production.

We can’t afford to rely on industrialized agriculture (which requires more fossil fuel, water, and mined minerals all which, are getting more expensive and harming the ecosystem) in our quest to feed the planet today or the future.

We all can enjoy healthy food when we support and invest in sustainable farms.

StockLyft is a marketplace lending for funding local, sustainable farm seasons or projects.

Users can earn new income by investing in local farm seasons and their assets with as little as $50 (USD) invested in a farm project or season.

Moses Amedonu
Moses Amedonu
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