Industrial or corporate farming, as mentioned in yesterday’s post harms bees and contributes to climate change. But what exactly is industrial farming? Industrial farming refers to modern farming methods that endorse chemicals more so than common sense.
Corporate and industrial farming include:
- Use of toxic pesticides. Pesticides includes herbicides, fungicides, and soil fumigants. Most of these pesticides are neurotoxins (substances that harm the brain and nervous system), cause disease, and contaminate water sources. Most of these pesticides are derived from petrochemicals and manufactured by the chemical cartel–the chemical cartel now controls the majority of global seed supply, pesticide manufacturing (chemicals that kill life), GMOs, and pharmaceuticals.
- Use of toxic synthetic fertilizer. This type of fertilizer contains heavy metals, hazardous waste, carcinogens, sometimes even radioactive and nuclear waste. These substances contaminate water sources, create aquatic deadzones and algae blooms, and add vast amounts of nitrous oxide to the atmosphere. (Side note: the fluoride in our public water supplies is derived from the hazardous waste produced during phosphate fertilizer production.)
- Monocropping farming methods. Mono cropping is the farming of a single crop over and over without offsetting land exhaustion through traditional farming methods of crop rotation, border crop planting, companion plant planting and so forth. GMO farming utilizes monocrop methods. Because soil is deteriorated and disregarded and the surrounding ecosystem is displaced, monocropping requires intensive escalated use of both pesticides and fertilizer. Additionally through the farm bill’s crop insurance program, GMO farmers are encouraged to farm over native prairie, grasslands and forests. The grasslands and forests are natural carbon sinks that offset climate upheaval, yet through these ironic backwards methods more carbon and air pollution is emitted while the forests and prairies that protect us are cleared.
- Disrespecting the Soil. An ecosystem of its own full of life giving microorganisms and beneficial substances, soil is utterly destroyed and made sterile through the application of fertilizers, pesticides and soil fumigants. Soil fumigants contribute to depleting the ozone layer and causing disease. To combat pests, there are natural methods like companion planting and crop rotation that don’t involve fumigants or pesticides, but are not endorsed by our government probably because they don’t increase profits for the chemical cartel. While the Montreal Protocol phased out the use worldwide of ozone depleting substances, the U.S. continues to make exemptions for the continued agricultural use of methyl bromide.
- Factory Farms, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Factory farms produce mass amounts of eggs, chickens, milk, beef, pork, you name it. These farms do not look out for animal welfare, often the animals are kept indoors their entire life, rather than fed their natural native diet of grasses and whatnot animals are fed GMO feed, they’re over-injected with steroids and hormones, because of crowded conditions they’re prone to disease and therefore continually on antibiotics (this leads to antibiotic resistant organisms) cows are treated with rBGH (proven to cause prostate, ovarian and breast cancer), pigs and poultry are injected with arsenic-laced drugs and chickens are subjected to having their beaks chopped off so they don’t injure each other in their overcrowded cages. Lastly the waste from factory farms is not regulated, and most factory farms contain the waste in open-air lagoons that leak and contaminate nearby waterways and contribute vast amounts of methane and nitrogen to the atmosphere. Read Cornucopia’s report on the greenwashing of eggs and see their egg report card.
- Genetic Engineered seeds or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Genetic engineered seeds require heavy application of glyphosate and other pesticides (often in the form of inert ingredients). These seeds produce plants that contain pesticides from root through to fruit and flower, they contain proteins are bodies do not recognize, a GMO plant is not as nutritious as its natural counterpart, GMO foods cause allergies, disease, and tumors. Pesticides made for GMO foods, in particular Glyphosate-or as you may see at the hardware store, Monsanto’s Roundup is the most widely used– has been identified by the World Health Organization as a probable human carcinogen. GMO foods cause a heap of diseases and restrict mineral absorption leading to mineral deficiency diseases. Because our government has Monsanto’s Michael Taylor leading the FDA, perhaps much of the truth about GMOs is kept from us. Think about it, most of the rest of the world requires GMO foods to be labeled or bans them altogether. Yet in America, our government can’t even get full disclosure for us through labeling and identifying GMOs. Personally I’d like to see our next president take control of this issue and start protecting the health of Americans instead of the health of the chemical companies.
- Water pollution and irrigation methods that waste water. Through agricultural runoff and recycling water back to the earth, toxins and pollutants are transferred into our precious water sources. Worse, because of fracking and oil drilling, much of our groundwater is contaminated with substances from wastewater. 10 years ago we realized perchlorate (rocket fuel) was contaminating the Colorado River, the source for irrigation water in much of the southwest. What will we learn about the effects of irrigation water contaminated with fracking waste?
Applying fertilizer, courtesy Bureau of Labor Statistics
photo courtesy of http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/12/science-wing/img188538.jpg