Currently, organic farming supplies less than 3% of America’s food, but this figure is on the rise. Does organic farming provide a “sustainable” of how to grow food in the next millennium?
Paul Roberts thinks not. Eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides would reduce crop yields. Thus, the amount of additional farmland that would be needed to be brought online to replace lost productivity would be immense. Vaclav Smil claims that an expansion of organic farming would “require complete elimination of all tropical rainforests, conversion of a large part of tropical and subtropical grasslands to cropland, and the return of a substantial share of the labor force to field farming.”
“Local” farming is viable either. Most eaters live in cities while most growers are on distant farms. Growing massive amounts of food in urban areas is not economically viable. Columbia Professor Dickson Dispommier claims that a 30-story glass skyscraper using nonsoil farming could produce enough food on a single city block to feed 50,000 people, but the farm would cost $200 million to build.