The Common Good
December 2009

Changing Farmers’ Lives

by Jeannie Choi | December 2009

Beyond the health benefits of eating organic, poor farmers around the world are claiming that organic farming is improving their quality of life, too.

Beyond the health benefits of eating organic, poor farmers around the world are claiming that organic farming is improving their quality of life, too. According to Progressio, a Catholic development organization in London, poor farmers who use natural pesticides, fertilizers, and seeds are experiencing larger crops. “There are 1.4 billion small-scale farmers around the world, and 70 percent of the world’s poor depend on small-scale farming,” Tim Aldred, Progressio’s advocacy manager, told Sojourners. “Helping this vast group of people use organic methods means helping them out of poverty.”

In Malawi, Progressio has helped many poor farmers move from pesticide-heavy farming to organic production. “Farmers we work with in Malawi tell us that using organic methods cuts out the cost of chemical fertilizers,” said Aldred. Farmers in Ecuador are also finding traditional seed varieties used by their ancestors to be far more resilient to storms and droughts, leading to larger crops.

Both examples indicate that the benefits of organic food go beyond just eating pesticide-free produce, according to Aldred. “Every person must have their basic needs met. Organic farming helps small-scale farmers lead more fulfilled lives.”

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