Since the end of the second world war main stream agriculture has become more and more reliant on pesticides and chemical fertilisers to mass produce crops. I attended a training course last week and most of the other participants were keen to get away early as it was the first dry day for some time and they all wanted to ‘go spraying’. Main stream agriculture insist that without pesticides crop yields would drop significantly and prices would increase. But what is the true cost of this reliance on pesticides?
The EU is banning many commonly used pesticides such as NeoNicotinoids because the science is showing they are damaging bee and other pollinator populations. The UK is resisting these changes. When you look at systems as a whole it seems obvious that a chemical that kills or suppresses one pest, must effect others and therefore the whole system. The cumulative effect on our eco system and the food we eat is slowly starting to show up, cancer rates are increasing dramatically, particularly childhood leukaemia and whole populations of once common birds and animals have all but disappeared.
Food can be grown commercially without chemicals, not only does it taste better, it is more nutritious and will not adversely effect your long term health. With the NHS struggling to cope, perhaps a new approach is needed, with governments and consumers ensuring that the food we eat is chemical free and not destroying the environment. Which farm would you prefer to spend your day on and eat your food from? The one on the left growing mono cultures and spraying, or the one on the right a bio diverse system, teaming with wildlife, producing more yield per acre with no chemicals or fertilisers. If we work with nature, she will keep the pests in check.