Can Organic Farming Save the World?

New studies show that organic farming could mean more produce, not less, in developing countries.© Getty Images

A recent study in the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems shows that organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in both developed and developing countries. The findings contradict arguments that organic farming is not as efficient as conventional agriculture that makes use of environmentally harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Model estimates indicate that organic methods could produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the current human population, and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the agricultural land base," researchers wrote in the journal article. They analyzed 293 different previous studies on yields from organic farming to come to their surprising conclusions.

We were struck by how much food the organic farmers would produce," says the study’s lead author Ivette Perfecto of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. "My hope is that we can finally put a nail in the coffin of the idea that you can’t produce enough food through organic agriculture."