Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government

Organic Farming

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 08:13 min

There is hope to combat the negative effects of industrial agriculture. Learn how organic farming helps restore forests, attract wildlife, and produce healthier and better tasting food.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Organic Farming: Wine • Organic Farming: Coffee


So people want to know if it's really this bad, if genetically modified food and monocultures aren't the answer because of all the harm they're inflicting on the environment, and probably on other animals and human health as well. What can we do? Well, what we can do is to move more and more in the direction of organic farming. That is farming without using pesticides-- chemical pesticides, and chemical herbicides, and chemical fungicides. It's food that's grown using the natural defenses of nature itself. And more and more people are becoming concerned about the commercial farming and the use of chemicals in farming and in agriculture, and moving towards organic products. They can cost a little bit more. But I always feel if you pay a little bit more for your food, you will respect it more, and you will waste it less. Because there's no question. We waste, in the Western world, huge amounts of food-- huge amounts of food. And yet on the other side of the world, there are people starving. So organic food and food that is produced in a holistic way, working with nature and not against nature, I visited a farm, an amazing farm created by Doug Tompkins, who tragically was killed two years ago. But this farm has turned the land from a monoculture, growing one kind of crop, to polyculture, growing many kinds of crops, just as used to be done in the olden days. It's a beautiful place. Animals are used for natural fertilizer. And it's been said, actually by the United Nations, that the way to feed the world in the future is not through industrial agriculture. It's through small-scale family farming. And if the United Nations, after a long investigation, can actually say genetically modified food has not increased the yield, then I think we can believe them. They're very conservative. I have a great friend who lives in the south of France. He's British, Robert Eden. And he has the largest organic vineyard probably in the world. And on part of this huge area, he practices biodynamic agriculture when he's growing his vines. And this, to me, is very fascinating. So many people now have adopted this. It's not just Robert. But you grow plants between your rows of vines that are good at fixing nitrogen in the soil, and you plow them back into the soil so that the soil is re-fertilized after the crop of grapes has been harvested. Some of these vineyards take sheep and let them graze in between the rows so that they get natural fertilizer. Robert uses horses to plow rather than having any kind of farm equipment contaminating the area where the plants are grown. He's created the area where the wine is fermented. And these buildings are made out of hemp bricks. It took him two years to get permission to use hemp bricks because of hemp's association with marijuana. But the actual wild hemp is very different. And these hemp bricks, they...

About the Instructor

There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.

Explore the Class
Sign Up