Posts Tagged ‘industrial agriculture’

Barbara Kingsolver has some interesting data about the percentage of people
involved in feeding a population directly or indirectly.

It turns out that if a large number of people farm/ garden directly,  it takes about
50-60% of the population to feed themselves.

If it’s done using industrial agriculture and highly mechanized methods, it still takes 50-60% of the population to do the work.

An exerpt from her fabulous article:

“Industrial farming — however destructive to the land and our nutrition —
has held out as its main selling point the allure of freedom: Two percent of
the population would be able to feed everyone.

The rest could do as we pleased.  Vandana Shiva sees straight through that promise.

“Most of those who have moved off of farms are still working in the industry of creating food and bringing it to consumers: as cashiers, truck drivers, even the oil-rig workers who generate the fuels to run the trucks.

Those jobs are all necessary to a travel-dependent, highly mechanized food system. And many of those jobs are menial, life-taking work, instead of the life-giving work of farming on the land.

The analyses we have done show that no matter what, whether the system is highly technological or much more simple, about 50 to 60 percent of a population has to be involved in the work of feeding that population. Industrial agriculture did not ‘save’ anyone from that work, it only shifted people into other forms of food service.”
Waiting tables, for instance, or driving a truck full of lettuce, or
spending 70 hours a week in an office overseeing a magazine full of glossy
ads selling food products. ”

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Full article at


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