If you don’t know who Gary Zimmer – a.k.a. The Biological Farmer – is, you should! I had the pleasure of hearing Zimmer talk alongside my uncle a few weeks in Wisconsin, and he filled me up with some game-changing ideas. He has been a champion and worldwide authority for decades on what he terms as “biological farming”. He believes, and has proven time and time again, that the key to smart, sustainable agriculture is fertile, nutrient-rich soil. It’s the next step beyond organic farming and a viable solution to feeding our world population without resorting to the dangers of Big Ag. By implementing simple things like crop rotation and better tilling processes, farmers do not have to rely on harsh fertilizers and pesticides to protect their crop. Here’s where the game changer comes in.
Zimmer has numerous success stories of land farmed “biologically” getting higher yields than land farmed more conventionally. This was particular true during the severe drought this summer. Those farmers using biological farming practices managed better than conventional farmers. And I don’t think you need to be a biologist for this to make sense! The more nutrients and minerals in the soil fortifying crops, the better those crops will fare in tough times. Conventional farming, on the other hand, ravages soil leading to erosion and an over-dependence on unnatural chemicals. Those who say Big Ag, with all of its scientific and technological advancements, is the only way we are going to continue feeding our growing population simply don’t have all of the facts. Indeed, Zimmer shared that both Dole and ConAgra (two shining examples of Big Ag) have recently experimented with biological farming and have also seen higher yields using this methodology (vs. conventional farming). What will Big Ag do with information? If they start seeing the proof that they can protect and even produce more yields using more sustainable farming practices, how does this change the game?
Big Ag is motivated by money, right? And Big Ag maximizes its profits by having higher yields and by growing crops that have a better chance of surviving environmental hardships, right? So it seems only logical that Big Ag should be switching to biological farming; it’s a sound investment! A no-brainer! No more reason to rely on conventional ways: no more GMOs, no more fertilizers and pesticides, no more monocultures. Can sustainable practices actually then lead to more money? Save the planet and maximize profits? Sounds too good to be true!