Do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world? 9

The biggest players in the food industry—from pesticide pushers to fertilizer makers to food processors and manufacturers—spend billions of dollars every year not selling food, but selling the idea that we need their products to feed the world. But, do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world? Can sustainably grown food deliver the quantity and quality we need—today and in the future? This Food MythBusters episode takes on these questions in under seven minutes. So the next time you hear them, you can too.


  1. I am from a region where the ‘family farm’ is quickly disappearing in favor of industry farm, the desire of many farm children is not to return to the farm as there is either no place for them or there is no money for them so they move on to something else. If memory serves me right the last census was showing the average age of operating farmers was 58 years. 15 years ago it was 45. Don’t get me wrong I am all for sustainable farming otherwise I wouldn’t be here reading these articles, but I believe there is a place for the industrial system as well as the grass roots movements. There is knowledge in both areas that the world both needs and requires to survive.

    • Please give me examples of sustainable “industrial farms”. They are distructive. If its not sustainable then how can it feed the future… when you have to much of anything in one location “industrial” it becomes toxic…. this is common knowledge and reason why there is no place for industrial farms…

      • Every time you head out to a resturant, corner store even the grocery store, you see varieties of food well beyond what really is attainable, this is driven by consumerism and capitalism all in the name of inexpensive food. Remember that when you head out for your favorite burger

      • yes we need industrial farms. I am an organic sheep producer (small scale) ,organic gardener, and fre range chicken/organic egg producer. …but we need both.

        you asked for comments….

  2. I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this particular situation plus it does offer me a lot of fodder for consideration. On the other hand, through everything that I have personally seen, I just wish when the actual feedback pile on that folks stay on point and in no way get started on a soap box regarding some other news du jour. All the same, thank you for this fantastic piece and whilst I can not really concur with the idea in totality, I regard your point of view.

  3. per you question… do we need industrial farms to feed the world ?…yep, we do. I have farmed partime (organic, sheep, goats) and worked as a large animal veterinarian for for well over 30 yrs, i wish we didnt, i wish we could all grow our own food, iwish we would all hold hands and sing Kumbyyah. But we wont. we need factory farms and industrial farms if we are gonna feed the world. keep the faith

  4. We not only don’t need the industrial farms, but we will do much better without them. They are bad for the environment, use an incredible amount of fossil fuel- that’s how they can be “economic” because they use big tractors and harvesters (which are very powerful but also very fuel-thirsty) and loads of artificial fertilizers also made of fossil fuels (these are needed because this type of agriculture depletes the soils and all the added pesticides etc kill all the microorganisms in the soil and so the land is barren-a vicious cycle); they are bad for our health as are grown on depleted soils, lack all the essential nutrients of crops grown on healthy soils (Studies comparing the nutritional profile of today’s food to that grown in the 1940s, before industrial farming became the norm, paint a startling picture) and on top of that are dowsed with an incredible amount of toxic chemicals designed to kill living things, so not great for living beings to consume; they are bad for small scale family farming (which not only can feed the world but are currently doing so! most people in the world are fed by small sclae agriculture, not big agribusiness, but you need to remove your EU/USA -centred glasses to realise that). Moreover, small farmers worldwide produce from 2 to 10 times more per unit area than do larger, corporate farmers-so. ‘In fact small farms are ‘multi-functional’ – more productive, more efficient, and contribute more to economic development than do large farms.

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