It’s no secret that the world still has a long way to go in solving the problem of food insecurity, from food deserts in the American inner cities all the way to the poorest “third world” countries.
But the question of how to go solving these problems has been hotly debated by both major industry players like Bayer and Monsanto, which believe in a chemically-intensive monoculture approach, and organic and conservation organizations around the world who believe in a more holistic approach based around organic, regenerative, and biodyanmic farming.
In 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations made a startling prediction: at current rates of degradation, most of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years, as noted in this article from Scientific American.
Could this scenario be unfolding in the Midwestern part of the United States, where Monsanto and other chemical corporations are more entrenched than ever before?
That could in fact be the case, according to a new observational study that found something just as shocking about the state of the soil in these “bread basket” areas.
“Farming has Destroyed the Midwest’s Rich Soil”
As noted in this article from NPR, farms across the Midwest have lost a huge percentage of their topsoil, casting doubt on how productive they will be for producing nutritious food in the coming years.
“Farming has destroyed a lot of the rich soil of America’s Midwestern prairie,” the article stated. “A team of scientists just came up with a staggering new estimate for just how much has disappeared.”
The study was conducted through flyovers of Midwestern farms, and found that the most fertile topsoil is entirely gone from a third of all the land devoted to growing crops across the upper Midwest region.
The article added that some colleagues are skeptical about how the results were produced, however.
The soil layer, called the “A-horizon,” is typically darkest in color, and home to the “black, organic and rich soil that’s really good for growing crops,” according to Evan Thaler, a Ph.D student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst whose team conducted the research.
Most of the crops seen overhead were fields of corn, soybeans, and other crops within a large area of the upper Midwest that includes most of Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa.
About a third of all crops were growing on erosion-prone hills, the researchers found.
According to Thaler, the estimate of one-third topsoil loss is far higher than the ones published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an organization that has strongly supported genetically engineered crops like the aforementioned corn and soybeans, Roundup, which has been implicated in the destruction of the soil microbiome over time, and other “modern” agricultural systems that have been implicated in this cycle of destruction.
A Line in the Sand Has Been Drawn — Will We Save Our Farmland Before It’s Too Late?
Aside from the catastrophic loss of topsoil needed to feed growing numbers of people, monoculture GMO based systems have also been shown to kill off our most important pollinator species, such as bees and even monarch butterflies, whose populations were just shown to have been reduced upwards of 99% in a recent California study.
Meanwhile, Mexico and other nations thousands of miles away have recently banned GMOs and glyphosate, even as U.S. President Joe Biden made the decision to bring aboard Tom Vilsack, aka “Mr. Monsanto,” as the country’s latest Secretary of Agriculture.
Even the United Nations itself said that organic, natural and small-scale agriculture is the way to “feed the world” and to stop climate change, a detail that seems to be lost on Biden and other U.S. “leaders” including Bill Gates, who supports GMOs and is now the “largest owner of farmland in the United States.”
In short, it’s time for everyone involved to get real about addressing this problem, and it’s become clear that the powers-that-be are not the ones who will end up making the change — it will have to come from the grassroots of society up.