Saturday, February 18, 2012

Organic Monoculture; Sustainable?

While the production numbers are impressive and the growth in organic crops is a huge positive, look at some of the production numbers.  87% of the apples, 81% of the cherries and 78% of the pears are coming from one state.  One state that is in the corner of the country.  Meaning about 87% of the apples are being shipped from one place.  This can demonstrate how a rise in oil prices can propagate higher food prices even if the crops are being produced without large petrochemical inputs like conventional agriculture.  Moving 200K tons of apples may be fine at $100 a barrel oil, but is it sustainable at $150 or even $200?

This shows that the sustainability of organic may end once the crops leave the farm, and the system of truck farming and massive economies of scale may only work to drive down food prices as long as oil prices stay stable and low.   Growing in less than optimal climates may be the future of agriculture to off set higher fuel costs if we go into another oil shock.