“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,
the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”
― Bill Mollison
Healthy soil is the foundation of healthy plants and healthy ecosystems. Healthy soils are life sustaining, allowing strong robust plants to grow and thrive. What organic growers strive for is healthy soil, that is teaming with the microbes required for soil fertility. Cover crops that are nitrogen fixing, provide the essential nitrogen to plants and soil and in the food web to all other animals and plants. Cover crops that have deep roots and the ability to bioaccumulate helpful nutrients, "mine" essential nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium and calcium and provide those nutrients to the food web. Cover crops that attract pollinators ensure the production of seeds and fruits for the many organisms depending on seeds and fruit for food. The pollinators also ensure the propagation of plants depending on pollinators for seed production. The many animals that eat those seeds and fruits ( birds, bats and mammals) are needed by the plants for seed dispersal.) Cover crops that attract beneficial predatory insects ensure crops are protected from pest insects by controlling their populations.
Compost restores nutrients to the soil but more importantly provides healthy microbes. And manure also provides both nutrients and microbes to promote a fertile soil.
The fertility of the soil, teaming with microbes and organic matter is why organic produce has been documented as having higher nutritional values the conventionally grown produce. There are more and more studies demonstrating the high yields of organic farming, in some situations, far exceeding that of conventional farming.(1)
So it is simply not true that organic farming cannot feed the world's population. In fact, by adopting these practices and learning more about them, the yields can only improve. Not only is organic farming capable of providing similar yields to conventional farming, but the increase of insects, birds, fish, and mammals would be able to provide even more calories if they were needed.
Manitoba is where I was born and where I have spent most of the five and one half decades of my life. I lived on the outskirts of the town of Portage La Prairie at a time when tadpoles and frogs inhabited the ditches and ponds, when there were many Monarch butterflies each summer along with dragon flies and grasshoppers. Redwing blackbirds perched the cattails of the ditches. As children we picked dandelions for bouquets and made wishes before blowing dandelion seed heads. We searched clover for lucky four leaves and rolled on the grass…there was no concern of poisonous herbicides. The grass was thick. Wherever we dug…there were earthworms