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Study Indicate That Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Can Feed the Planet

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The report, Organic Agriculture for the 21st Century, authored by Washington State University Regents Professor of Soil Science and Agroecology John Reganold and doctoral student Jonathan Wachter, looks at the efficacy of organic and non-organic farming according to the four pillars of sustainability: economics, environment, productivity and community well-being. Organic production currently accounts for only one percent of global agricultural land, despite rapid growth in the last two decades.

Organic agriculture, sometimes called biological or ecological agriculture, combines traditional conservation farming methods with modern farming technologies. It emphasizes rotating crops, managing pests naturally, diversifying crops and livestock, and improving the soil with compost additions and animal and green manures. Organic farmers use modern equipment, improved crop varieties, soil and water conservation practices, and the latest innovations in feeding and handling livestock. Organic farming systems range from strict closed-cycle systems that go beyond organic certification guidelines by limiting external inputs as much as possible to more standard systems that simply follow organic certification guidelines.

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