Sustainable farming in comparison

For this post, I decided to dive further into examples of sustainable farming is in comparison to Monsanto’s practices and the environmental and health consequences that result from them.

The Sustainable Table defines sustainable agriculture as: the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.

Environment:
Sustainable farms produce crops without depending on pesticides, chemical fertilizers, GM seeds, and practices that degrade land and other scarce resources.

Monsanto started as a chemical company in the early 1900s and was one of the first companies to GM crops. Their synthetic fertilizers degrade land and kill microorganisms that increase nutrients in soil. Agricultural irrigation is one of the leading causes of the shortage of freshwater supply. Monsanto’s practice of monoculture (specialization of a single crop in a given area) reduces biodiversity and increases usage of fertilizers and pesticides.

Health:
Crops should be grown without endangering the health of workers, consumers and surrounding communities.

recent study linked Monsanto’s herbicide, glyphosate (also known as the product Roundup), to cancer, birth defects and infertility. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have recognized that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Since then, there have been lawsuits across the country from farmer workers claiming their cancer was caused by exposure to the toxic herbicide. As another result of this finding, California, under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, has placed glyphosate on their list of chemicals that cause cancer and other health issues.

A concern that was raised when I was writing this post was the amount of countries that placed complete bans on Monsanto, including Japan, Switzerland, France, Peru, Poland, Italy, and Latvia. It made me wonder why the U.S. does not have stricter policies and regulations on GM products. This may be a topic I might to research further and blog about next week.

My main purpose of this post is to show that Monsanto falsely describes itself as a “sustainable” agricultural company. I realize that Monsanto is a large corporation that employs thousands (and even provides great employee benefits), but my main point is that there is a whole other side that many people are not aware of .

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