By Stephanie Rochford
Sustainability Studies student
Mono-crop farming is the practice of growing large amounts of one crop on the land. This practice was recognized as a very economical way to provide farmers with a way to earn money, grow large amounts of a staple crop, like soy, corn, or wheat, and sell these crops off to any company willing to use it for food or fuel.
The problem with this is that the destruction that is done to the environment when mono-cropping is being engaged is far greater than the benefits it brings. The depletion of the nutrients in the soil, the use of pesticides on the crops, and not the entire crop is used for food. This leaves land that is even more reliant on the pesticides to fight off predators which in return puts more chemicals into the system. Finally, the entire reason we grow food is to eat it. This type of farming does not provide the diversity needed in our diets or to our ecosystem.
A clear way to send a message that monocropping is unacceptable as the major source of farming is to support local, organic, diverse farms. These farms provide the variety of foods we want and need, they support themselves in growing, and they do not leave the environment in worse condition.
Finally, if monocropping is controlled by a large entity, like a corporation or the government, it is in our best interests to make smart dollar decisions in supporting the companies that consider the environment without being told to do so. Also, it might be worth having farms that destroy the land, to either pay a tax, or find a way to offset their farms. Another great idea is found in the Mother Jones website, explaining how planting crops on top of the monocrops in the off season will actually help such farms in weaning off of the pesticides. Fewer pesticides lead to better food and a friendlier climate.
I believe these things start with a discussion, and if we can get the right politicians on board we might see legislation that at least asks for such destructive farms to acknowledge their role in the environment. For now, it appears that the money and big business with monocropping serves few, and those few have determined that it is without worry that they can continue this practice.