Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Harder Economic Times, Greater Problems with Biodiversity Arise

Food For Thought


Ever questioned the viability of your food?  Where is this grown?  How?  Is it safe?  Well the modern food industry doesn’t want you to question because then they can continue  producing food through industrial agriculture.  The world’s population is ever-increasing, and a greater population means higher demand.  But is it worth risking losing biodiversity to mass-produce this food?  

Industrial Agriculture
Industrial agriculture perceives farms as factories.  “The goal is to increase yield (such as bushels per acre) and decrease costs of production, usually by exploiting economies of scale.”[1]  Industrial agriculture’s goal is solely to up production and lower costs due to the fact that there is such high demand for food. 

Farmers use a technique called monoculture; (feeding animals only one food to minimize costs of production and save money.)  In this situation the term “livestock,” (to refer to these animals) is more accurate.  These livestock are produced in bulk so that the food companies can get more food quicker onto the market.  Livestock aren’t just for food, but they also include sheep for fur or deer for leather.  But by using monoculture to produce livestock, we are actually getting rid of the diversity of certain natural foods and animals by focusing our attention and mass-producing these same things artificially.  Consequences include health hazards as well as a lack of certain traits not only passed down in these species but in human beings also.

Is There Hope?
Yes there is and it is the completely contrary to what is mentioned above!  It is called sustainable agriculture and it benefits everyone.  It is environmentally conscientious by more frequently using renewable resources, but at the same time striving to get the best bargain and not taking advantage of less fortunate communities.  It focuses on naturally growing food and not harming evolution, the possibilities of the future, not just in animals but in human growth and development as well.  By doing all of this, this form of agriculture is the greatest way to sustain our resources while making profits with the least amount of harm done to animals, our communities and wallets.


Looking Towards the Future
Since the 1950s, organizations in Canada such as The Land Fellowship (first ever), try to continue sustainable agriculture efforts.  Even with all of the damages that industrial agriculture has caused such as the swine flu, in a tight economy we get lost trying to obtain the most for our dollar.  But we must be conscientious of every single species on this Earth and not try to cancel them out because we want better profitability.  Every life is important on Earth, from humans to plankton; we all have an impact on our ecosystems.   Let’s focus on trying to preserve every single life; whether animal or human, we are all equally important.

[1] "Food and Agriculture." Union of Concerned Scientists. Union of Concerned Scientists, 05/17/07. Web. 16 Feb 2011. <>.

1.  "What is Sustainable Agriculture?." University of Carolina Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. University of Carolina, 2006. Web. 16 Feb 2011. <>.

2.  "Livestock Farms." The Inside Scoop on Farms. Think Quest USA, n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2011. <>.

3.  MacRae, Rod. "A History of Sustainable Agriculture." Ecological Agriculture Projects. McGill University, 1990. Web. 16 Feb 2011.

4.  Steck, Ted. "Human Population Explosion." The Encyclopedia of Earth. Environmental Indormation Coalition, 14 Dec 2010. Web. 16 Feb 2011.


Commented on:


  1. Hi Meggs!
    This post certainly made me question the viability of my food. I agree that industrial agriculture and mass-producing has turned the main goal into more of a business for financial gain rather than producing reliable, healthy and safe food. It has created numerous unethical concerns for the animals, consumers, workers as well as the ecosystem. Although, it may be more efficient in providing more food in less time, the consequences are not worth it. One thing you didn't mention is the negative aspects of sustainable agriculture. It takes a longer time to produce the same amount of crops and and may not be able to sustain our increasing population. Overall, an interesting and informative read!

  2. Hey Megan,
    I'm glad to know that there are organizations out there working to preserve sustainable agriculture, the effort is really needed. I also really like your comparison of industrial agriculture to turning farms into factories. This really is what is happening. Just like many factories, the farm is turned into a profit making business and pollutes the environment at the same time. Lastly, your point of questioning the viability of food, was really interesting. It reminds me that we as individuals can support sustainable agriculture by buying organic foods. Your blog post was very insightful and enjoyable to read!

  3. Hey Megan,
    Reading you blog really got me thinking about the food we consume on a regular basis. I definately agree with you in believing that there is hope with sustainable agriculture. I believe that sustainable agriculture has alot of positives, and it is a great way in keeping the earths soil and environment healthy as well as our bodies. I agree with your statement that having a sustainable agriculture would have less harm on our animals, communities, and wallets. I really enjoyed reading you blog, great job!

  4. Hey Meggs, great blog!
    I'm happy to know that there are organizations dedicated to sustainable agriculture, because I definitely do not agree with the effect that industrial agriculture has on our environment. I agree with you that switching over to sustainable agriculture would benefit our society by causing less harm to animals, communities and our wallets! Good job, I found your blog was very insightful.