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aHoneyBadger13 karma

As a commercial grower, I appreciate your nuanced take on GMOs. But your wholesale rejection of alternative agriculture is misguided and counterproductive. Slurring organic agriculture as "anti-science", especially, is naive and demonstrably untrue. Conventional ag has adopted many science-based methods pioneered by the organic movement, such as legume-focused crop rotations, building soil organic matter, and promotion of biodiversity. The central tenants of IPM, which you rightfully tout, are taken right out of the organic playbook as a response to one of the sins of conventional ag: overuse of pesticides.

Conversely, organic agriculture can learn from conventional ag. Soil-building no-till practices, for example, were pioneered in conventional ag and are now spreading in the organic industry.

Next, the direct comparison of land use is overly simplistic and ignores externalities imposed by conventional ag. For example, dousing your field in fertilizer might give a better yield, but the runoff that kills a fishery downstream is not considered. I am more sympathetic to the point that organic ag uses more carbon inputs to farm the same amount of land. We have to stop thinking in this compartmentalized way and take a comprehensive view of things. Admittedly this is hard for scientists who's entire careers are devoted to the study of minutia, but the hippies are right: everything is connected.

I encourage you to take a more open-minded approach to biology, of which we still have a lot to learn. One thing I'm excited about right now are the developments in the study of mycorrhizal networks and microbiota-induced disease resistance in plants that support the Organic thesis that ecological dynamics should be fostered, not fought.

However, we can both share a laugh at the few loonies managing their farm based on the position of Venus.

aHoneyBadger1 karma

Cardboard and wood chips are excellent free (usually) soil builders. They can also work as weed barriers, just cut a hole in the cardboard where you want to plant. Be careful of adding too many woodchips. They can suck up a lot of nitrogen. Use aged wood chips if possible.

+1 for compost and cover crops, too.