Business, Politics & Society

Organic Farming

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 8:14 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.

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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...


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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.



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

Thank you Dr. Jane Goodall. I find your work and message inspiring. I am thinking about making a series of lectures regarding the Colonias of Tijuana as well as asking our Nutritional Ecology teacher at the La Esperanza schools to learn/implement etc. your Roots and Shoots program.

I loved hearing Dr. Jane and learning from her experiences. It has made me realize how much I want to make a difference... How much I want to be a part of the movement to improve the health of the planet.

Jane is best teacher as to how you get your positive message through.

I love that Jane started at the very beginning for I feel I will be able to travel her journey as a companion as she achieves her dream.


Comments

Kevin W.

"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." Unfortunately, this appears to be a bit of confusion on Jane's part. She appears to be citing the NYT article (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html) that uses UN data to compare crop yields between the US and Europe and finds little difference overall. It's a legitimate concern, but it's not entirely scientific and it's what we call 'data dredging'. It is also not the conclusion of the UN, only a conclusion drawn using their data. In fact the UN WHO website does admit that GMO crops produce a higher yield (https://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/) and a meta-analysis found an average 22% increase in crop yields. (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111629)

Kay K.

I love the idea of organic food, however I struggle with the label of organic because it has a connotation of only for richer people and sometimes a rip-off. For example, there are food items labeled as organic in the supermarkets that cannot be nonorganic and have the priced jacked up, even though there's no difference. Same with GMO. I try to buy organic milk because I feel better when I drink it (I don't very much, just to make kefir), but it's hard to navigate how to no feel ripped off by an organic label.

Nika V.

I hope to grow my food soon. Meanwhile, we support organic and local organic agriculture when we shop or go to the weekly farmers market. The farmers market here in Florida is fantastic with a few huge farm booths with everything from veggies, to fruit to herbs to flowers. The best way is still growing my own in mindfulness and care.

Mary H.

Wind turbines are not working due to solar radiation management. My wind turbine photo was taking while approaching Schiphol international airport.

Molly

I love the story about how that farmer took a bare piece of land and planted shade grown coffee trees, which had the positive result of regenerating the soil and bringing back the forests and birds. The hypoxic zone in the gulf of Mexico is an example of how conventional farming has damaged the environment far away from the source. Fertilizers get into the Mississippi River from the agricultural regions and empty into the Gulf causing low oxygen levels and this makes a large area unsuitable for aquatic organisms. Perhaps there could be a positive change in the Gulf if organic farming could be practiced and organic products could be kept at reasonable prices. I'm sure this applies to other parts of the world as well, such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Gretchin D.

Organic food tastes better and is better for our bodies and the environment. All of these pesticides and herbicides are ruining the soil which will make it harder to grow crops and are poisoning our air and water.

Mia S.

"Coffee - shade-grown coffee is very good for the coffee itself, it makes a better flavor. But also the shade-grown coffee is helping to restore the forest, which means other animals and birds and plants can come back. I met this lovely farmer - he was left a little piece of land by his father, and when he took over that land, it was completely bare, and he said, 'There were a few coffee plants and they looked so sad.' He'd been part of our youth program - he knew about shade-grown coffee. He got a little loan, he planted some trees, and because that soil is very good at regenerating, the trees began to grow, and when I went to visit him, he was so excited. 'The birds have come back! I've seen 14 different kinds of bird species. The animals are coming back. The soil has now got more moisture than it had. I found a toad the other day.' His coffee is absolutely top-grade. The coffee farmers have formed a cooperative, they got a loan to get one of these huge machines, so they give in their coffee crop, they get a little chit saying how much and this machine grades it and cleans it and it goes off to the coffee auction. Five years running, they got the top prize in Tanzania for the very best coffee."

Mia S.

"Biodynamic agriculture... many people now have adopted this: 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. Horses to plow,rather than having any kind of farm equipment contaminating the area where the plants are grown. The area, where the wine is fermented - these buildings are made out of hemp bricks. It took 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 manage the temperature so that when it's very hot, they keep the heat out; when it's very cold, they keep the warmth in. Solar panels, he's not using any petrochemicals at all, he's got some windmills. He harvests the grapes during the period of full moon. We know the full moon is moving the tide, fulling the tide in - the full moon is also drawing the sap up the vine into the grape, and this means when you pick the grapes at full moon, they are the juiciest. But he like everybody else is being affected by climate change, by drought. When I talked to him awhile ago, he said, 'The drought is so bad that the vines are actually pulling the juice out of the grapes to keep themselves alive. Wherever we look, the effects of climate change are apparent."

Mia S.

"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 chemical pesticides and herbicides and fungicides. It's food that's grown using the natural defenses of nature itself. More and more people are becoming concerned about the commercial farming, and the use of chemicals in farming and 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. Yet, on the other side of the world, there are people starving. Organic food, food that is produced in a holistic way - working with nature and not against nature. It's been said 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. If the UN can actually say genetically modified food has no increased the yield, I think we can believe them. They're very conservative."

Carola S.

we can start at home !! having your own organic production at home in small pots.