Organic farming comes with many connotations of `natural', `wholesome', `healthy', `superior', `environmentally friendly', and `sustainable'. But just what is the scientific evidence behind the claims of healthier food and better farming systems made by the organic movement?
Using peer reviewed literature, the latest studies and a rigorous investigation of claims made by opponents of conventional farming, the author provides an even handed and scientifically objective review of the contributions of organic farming to human health, crop yields, the environment and agriculture from a global perspective.
The aim is to separate out the marketing spin, the claims of one camp or another and political ideologies to provide a straightforward appraisal of both the benefits and exaggerated claims of organic farming. The approach taken is to present the evidence - in the form of data, study results and presentation of source material for the claims made by conventional and organic, and leave the reader to make their own judgements on the validity of the case for organic over conventional farming.
The book also addresses a fundamental question in modern farming - organic agriculture's ability to feed the world in the face of a growing population and growing demand for meat, and provides a timely scientific comparison of the practices, relative yields and benefits of organic versus conventional agriculture. The ways conventional farming has progressed from hunter gatherer days and possible future developments are discussed.
Conventional and Organic Farming is an ideal book for agricultural policy makers, researchers and academics, as well as agricultural students, conventional and organic farmers.
Victor M. Shorrocks is a specialist in the mineral nutrition of crops gaining his D.Phil. at Oxford with work on the uptake of phosphorus and potassium by barley and sunflower in 1957. In the latter part of his career he concentrated on the mineral micro-nutrition of plants, animals and man with his quarterly publication Micronutrient News, consulting worldwide. He has continued to keep up with developments in organic farming a topic which he has followed for over 60 years and which led to him study plant breeding.