Why do humans feel we have to improve everything? Why do we think we can? Case in point. Nature’s methods of growing food. She provides an environment rich in all the necessary ingredients; plants that draw from the soil, plants that return value to the soil.
Farming methods have obviously changed over the years. Way before our time, people grew what they needed for personal family and neighbor use. Surpluses were traded. If they grew the same thing in the same place year after year the yield and quality dropped. So they rotated crops, fertilized with compost, turned livestock into the field, or grew something and plowed it under to enrich the soil. This all makes sense. One use will renew the field for another. When the field is wounded you let it heal. This is a closed, sustainable system.
What is “sustainability”? There is a huge confrontation between the “better life through chemistry”advocates for “monoculture” farming practices and the folks who use “sustainable” practices. Whatever you are growing pulls nutrients from the soil. Balanced natural soil provides a vitamin and mineral balanced food supply. Soil is alive with microbes essential for plants to fight pests and disease. This balance is lost in monoculture farming. It needs to be replenished, before it can grow the same crop with the same nutritional value.
To grow the same crop again and increase the amount of product a field can provide, those who were intent on conquering and controlling the soil decided it was best to create a sterile environment and then introduce supplements as needed. The fault in this model lies in the assumption that they can do this better than Mother Nature. They apply biocides and pesticides that don’t discriminate between good and bad elements. They test and study. Then they introduce chemicals to provide the same crop. But the things they add only restore a miserable fraction of the diverse and complex growing system they have destroyed. They can never provide the same crop. The amazing and wonderful ecosystem relationships developed by centuries of adaptation and natural selection to achieve symbiosis is gone. This leaves a field that has no weeds or pollinators in the growing season. It looks like a war zone after harvest.
The effects are not confined to the field. Additives leach out into the surrounding water, extending the damage. Add to that the wastes and chemicals introduced by animal factory farming.
We are what we eat. Antibiotics, pesticides, and Mother Nature knows what else. No wonder our bodies are confused. They are constantly being asked to separate nutritious from toxic elements. How do we try to do this? Better living through chemistry. We treat ourselves like dirt . We test and study. We invent new ways to try to restore the balance. Go figure. We take a pill. Or we take many pills. And vitamin and mineral supplements.