Filed under: Energy + Climate, Food + Health, Society + Media | Tags: green revolution, monsanto, seeds
The world’s population is expected to read 9 billion in a few short decades. More food will be needed for those 3 billion more mouths, and Monsanto thinks it has the answers. By improving yields through their seeds, they say they can improve water quality and the lives of farmers.
Monsanto produces modified hybrid seeds to sell to farmers, with the expectation that these seeds will increase farmer’s yields. But the farmers aren’t allowed to grow their own seeds from Monsanto’s and replant them. The seeds are patented, so this would technically be illegal- they have to keep buying seeds every season. They have to come back to the seed company for pesticides and chemicals in order to make them grow properly. But if their neighbors use is and get a higher yield, don’t they have to buy them to keep up?
Reading about big seed companies like this one makes me think of how we got here. I think of the Green Revolution. The invention of pesticides created the ability to feed more mass numbers of people, in a way allowing the world population to grow to its current rate. Would we be able to feed 6 billion people without pesticides and mass farming? Probably not. Can we feed the expected 9 billion people in 2050 without them?
Right now, we have enough food in the world to feed every mouth. But food distribution is so out of whack because of political pressures, poverty and social inequality that it doesn’t seem like enough. Seeds for farming have become such a globalized, controlled-by-the-few thing, that it is disconnected from many peoples’ lives. If more food actually was grown sustainably and locally, maybe this would be different. Wouldn’t it be simpler if more communities had a direct hand in the food they ate? It seems like we’ve come so far in terms of industrialization and development, only to realize that going back to the basics of food production may be the best route after all.
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