Organic farms, although not necessarily always quite as health-friendly as advertised, harbor approximately 34% more diversity of species than conventional farming, according to a recent study by Oxford University. They are actually even more important than that: according to the U.N (report here, summary here) small organic farms are actually the key to solving hunger problems worldwide.

The reasons that small organic  farms are so important is many fold. The main reason is that by allowing more species, by not killing symbiotic bacteria in the soil and insects (like ants), you increase per plant yield while also helping maintain ecological stability (helping prevent collapse). These are the same reasons polyculture system are beneficial: extreme factors (like temperature or storms) do not suddenly “tip” the entire ecosystem, the plants are not all competing for the same resources, and more mutualist species can be supported. Inversely, all this is reversed in conventional monocultures.

With this in mind, many suggest a “mixed” system, using our knowledge of ecology to maximize yield while reducing ecological costs. There may even be room for genetic engineering within the future of sustainable farming. We know is that chemical monoculture is bad for ecosystems, but mixing and matching other variables will lead us to the best methods.

Organic permaculture is more than just meaningful, more than just able to increase yield: it is able to solve hunger problems effectively, locally, with fewer or no chemicals, and in a way that promotes ecological stability instead of exploitation until collapse.