Malcolm Stuart, Somerset West
The well-presented article, “Village garden”, by Norman McFarlane in Bolander’s Wednesday October 18 edition should revive our thoughts on the need for the production of healthy food. It brought to our attention the two problems which combine to confuse us; one, the need to get food to the tables of the ‘unemployed’ and two, the equally vital need to re-establish regenerative agricultural and horticultural land the present fertility of which is rapidly deteriorating through factory style agriculture with the excessive use of chemicals.
The first, illustrated the point that has been made over and over again that global hunger is not a matter of yield per hectare: it is a matter of distribution and economics; over half the global cereal products go towards feeding livestock in intensive feedlots; the world’s ‘unemployed’ will always be the victims of hunger for the simple reason that they cannot buy food. Rather than trying to squeeze more out of our suffering top soil we should be looking for a solution to food ‘losses’; it is estimated that 1.3 billion tons of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Enough food is universally grown and if the world could emulate the ‘Village garden’s principle of ‘work for your next meal’ in some way or other we would be on the right road.
The second, shows us quite clearly the logic of growing vegetables organically. Can anyone, in this day and age, imagine establishing a highly visible patch of vegetables available to the community and being sprayed regularly with poisonous chemicals? Make no mistake, too, that there is no scientific consensus on the safety of eating genetically modified foods, some of which have been developed solely to increase the sales of pesticides. The steadily increasing incidence of damage to human health with specific connections to medical findings, including cancer, are quite obvious to those who follow the research.