How #organic crops can crash — and still never fail [with updated fraud]

mem_somerville
8 min readJan 5, 2022

Despite massive failures and extensive fraud, people still think some miracle of smaller yields will save the planet

Numerous headlines lately described a frightening scenario: during a global pandemic, the food security of Sri Lanka was put at risk, apparently by a neo-Lysenko plan to switch the country to organic production.

NYTimes article on Dec 7 2021 about the turn to organic farming

Sri Lankans watched as “a sharp drop in crop yields and spiraling prices” were making food availability and affordability become a serious crisis. There were many pressures on the country, but reportedly they can thank Vandana Shiva for pushing them off the cliff on food production, apparently.

But this is not the first time organic has failed. Even before the pandemic, organic production was failing right here at home. “80 percent failure rate dogs county’s $1 million organic farm program” read the headline from a Colorado US paper: in 2016. With full-on developed-world resources, support and assistance at every level, no pandemic, even a grant program couldn’t save organic farming here.

The same fate of those failed farmers has been repeated all across the county under an agricultural program meant to encourage and support organic farming by providing nearly $1 million in capital expenditures, temporary lease rate reductions, organic certification assistance, weed maintenance and farmer education courses.

Despite those extensive measures, 19 of 24 organic operations have ceased in the past five years, done in by weeds and weather and the sheer amount of work needed to keep a farm going.

Sometimes documentaries or feel-good stories are made about farms that are succeeding. These typically rely on “interns” or Community-Supported ag share workers who are, shall we say, below market rate field staff. While selling niche produce or sausages at very high prices.

mem_somerville

Mary Mangan PhD is a genomics scientist, with credentials in microbiology, immunology, plant cell biology, and and molecular biology.