Dr. Badgley points out that the differences in crop yields between organic and conventional are not obstacles to feeding the world. In fact, recent , suggests that the yield gap between organic and conventional is lower than previously estimated, and could be further decreased or even eliminated entirely through the use of best management practices and further research. The study concludes that the results “suggest that appropriate investment in agroecological research to improve organic management systems could greatly reduce or eliminate the yield gap for some crops or regions.” Even outside of small scale vegetables organic yields can compete with conventional. For example, examined long-term trials and found that organic grain crop yields can equal conventional grain crops.
Finally, while increasing yields of organic farming is economically and environmentally important, reducing food waste is substantially more important when it comes to feeding the world. The amount of food waste far exceeds yield differences between organic and conventional crops. According to the , about 40% of food in the United States goes uneaten. This means that 20 pounds of food per person is wasted every month. The simplest way to ensure that our current agricultural system is able to feed the world is to reduce food waste.
Let's Use Organic and GMOs to Feed the World | HuffPost
The suggestion made by Dr. Savage that organic depends on manures and composts from conventionally raised animals is also misleading. Much of the nutrient input on organic farms comes directly from on-farm sources, including green manure and leguminous cover crops. The nutrient additions they add from off-farm compost and manure use recycled sources of nitrogen, rather than synthesizing new nitrogen to add to the system. As I mentioned above, this results in a significant reduction of energy use, but it also has impacts on the environment. New reactive nitrogen has been associated with several environmental problems such as eutrophication, acid rain, and smog. By recycling old nitrogen sources rather than adding new nitrogen to the earth’s system, organic agriculture helps prevent environmental degradation. It is also important to note that has found that not only does organic contribute less new nitrogen to the global system, it also reduces the amount of nitrate runoff, thus improving water quality.