Organic agriculture can help feed the world, but only if we eat less meat and stop wasting food

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 02:48:01 PM. Conversion to organic agriculture may have the potential to meet global food demands and do so sustainably, but only if food waste and meat production are reduced.
Agriculture could go organic worldwide if we slashed food waste and stopped using so much cropland to feed livestock, a new study finds. The analysis, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that it will take several strategies operating at once to feed the growing human population in a more sustainable way — and some of those strategies may require people to shift their dietary patterns, too. The world’s population is expected to hit 9.8 billion by 2050, which means an extra 2 billion or so mouths to feed. This will require increasing agricultural output by an additional 50%, the study authors wrote — which is made an even greater challenge as dietary patterns have been changing and the demand for meat has been rising. (Raising livestock leaves a large carbon and water footprint relative to growing plant-based foods.) All of this puts an additional strain on an already taxed environment. “It is, therefore, crucial to curb the negative environmental impacts of agriculture, while ensuring that the same quantity of food can be delivered,” the study authors wrote. Experts have thrown out several strategies to deal with the impending food security problem, without coming to a clear agreement on which one would be best. Among the options: improving efficiencies in producing crops and using resources; reducing food waste; cutting down the animal products we eat; or resorting to more organic agriculture. Amanda Cowan / Associated Press Mary King and Harry MacCormack...Read more
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