By 2050, our population is projected to rise by about two billion people. This means more resources to use and more mouths to feed.
It really is a scary thought; what would happen when we one day do not have enough food? Genetic engineering has, in some way, offered a sense of solution to the growing numbers.
However, there is that element of quality that may be lost in the mass production and engineering. Local farms produce healthier food, but cost more due to the difficulty of mass producing.
In spite of the pricing of organic farming, though, I do think it might be a wise investment to make. As convenient as it is to go to Market Basket and find whatever can be easily carried home with other items, I think the extra time and money spent on products grown and sold locally and/or organically can easily be worth it. The buyers’ bodies will reap the health benefits for more energy and longer lives.
Meanwhile, the farmers will gain economic benefits of having their agriculture sold and used; a higher demand could potentially even lower of the cost of such food.
An article in National Geographic proposed several possibilities to going about maintaining enough food. It describes the debate between conventional, genetically-engineered agriculture and organic farming and concluded we need a combination of both.
The article also suggested certain populations change to a plant-based diet, preserve forests and other natural areas, use resources more efficiently, produce more with our current farms and reduce waste.
The National Geographic article does make a good point though; there is a necessity for genetic engineering in farming. It does help produce a higher quantity for the higher population.
People who cannot afford the prices of local farming do need to be fed as well and genetic engineering, in spite of its drawbacks and potential dangers, enables those mouths to be fed.
Hence, I think for now the engineered agriculture may be useful.
I do feel that perhaps the end goal for more people should be organic and local farming, as the health and economic impacts can provide a higher quality of life for those involved.
In that respect, I think people should pay for what they can afford, but work towards being able to invest in healthier diets. I can be implicated in this cycle; as a college student, I did not make the funds necessary for such a diet.
However, since I am about to graduate and may someday have a job that pays well, I will have more of a control and say in what I eat.
A person could also simply switch between the two methods. Some time could be spent purchasing and consuming local products, while other time could be spent saving money and contributing to the other market.
This would create a relatively healthy balance for the individual’s diet and finances. Many people have heard horror stories about Monsanto, the most powerful corporation in genetic agricultural engineering.
And as with all principles of life, it seems a dependency on such an ambiguous company and type of engineering may not be healthy for anyone.
I think it’s worth paying much more attention to what we eat and invest in. Money is important, but health and self-sustainability may provide a better quality of life even if the quantity may suffer.
Anthony Munoz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org