Industrial Farming Lies


Posted by Jeff Siegel - Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

In a recent interview, Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said this about organic foods. . .

"It sounds good. It is good. We have to help our farmers who make these products. It allows them to create added value for people who are willing to pay for it. But it's a privilege. We also have to think of the world food supply."

For people willing to pay for it?

Guess what Pete, we pay a hell of a lot more for conventional food than we do for organic food.

The fact is, a big chunk of our tax dollars go to support huge, non-organic industrial farms. And this allows for the illusion of “cheap” food because you never see the real cost at the supermarket.

Moreover, many of these industrial monstrosities use loads of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, which are, guess what – also subsidized with tax dollars.

Of course, let's not leave out the trillions of dollars in damage to our natural capital thanks to the very liberal use of these fertilizers and pesticides. The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone didn't just appear for no reason, my friends.  Much of that dead zone, which now measures about 3,300 square miles (or about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined), exists because of the enormous amount of fertilizers that run off from our massive industrial farms. 

And I don't see the big agricultural companies ponying up to pay for that mess. Nah, those are just externalities. Things to ignore as we further liquidate our natural capital.

I realize that natural capital isn't something high on Nestle's priority list, yet natural capital really represents the most important type of capital there is. Things like the regulation of atmosphere and climate, the cycling of nutrients and water, pollination, control of pests and diseases, and the maintenance of biodiversity.

These natural and self-regulating services are worth trillions annually. But you can be certain that the value of this natural capital is not being reflected on Nestle's balance sheets. Just as it's not being reflected on most balance sheets.

And this whole song and dance about “thinking of the world food supply.” What a load of crap! There have been numerous studies to refute the accusations that organic farming cannot feed the world.  Accusations, I might add, that are often drummed up by those with a vested interest in conventional, industrial farming practices.

Want to educate yourself? Read Organic Manifesto, by Maria Rodale, or the 2007 University of Michigan study, or the 2010 UN report, Agro-ecology and the Right to Food, or any of the other peer-reviewed studies not funded by Monsanto or ADM.

Of course, Brabeck-Letmathe will likely just give you some other line about organic products having inferior yields and not being able to feed the world today. Which is a complete lie. He also talked about organics being more dangerous because they're fertilized with livestock manure and people don't always realize they have to wash it thoroughly. He even said it leads to 30-40 deaths per year. Can you believe the stones on this guy?

Yes, cow shit is something we need to worry about, not the pesticides that sicken and kill the folks that pick this guy's food. Not the newly discovered link between GMOs and an organism that may lead to miscarriages in farm animals. And definitely not the three peer-reviewed studies that confirm prenatal exposure to pesticides can lower IQs in children.

I could go on and on, but quite frankly this piece is more about venting than anything else. I'm just sick and tired of guys like Brabeck-Letmathe attacking organics. And let's face it: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out his intentions.

So if you want to learn more about organics, don't listen to the guy who runs a company that benefits from unethical and irresponsible industrial farming practices. Instead, do your own digging. Go visit an organic farm, buy organic produce at your local supermarket or farmers market. Read the peer-reviewed studies. Listen to the experts.

In fact, one of those experts, Anna Lappe, recently responded to Brabeck-Letmathe's comments in this article. Take a look, and see for yourself why Brabeck-Letmathe's is completely unqualified to even speak about organics.