To back up and state some obvious goals: We need a global perspective, the (moral) recognition that food is a basic right and the (practical) one that sustainability is a high priority. We want to reduce and repair environmental damage, cut back on the production and consumption of resource-intensive food, increase efficiency and do something about waste. (Some estimate that 50 percent of all food is wasted.) A sensible and nutritious diet for everyone is essential; many people will eat better, and others may eat fewer animal products, which is also a eating better.
The above comes from a New York Times article, entitled “Sustainable Farming Can Feed the World?“. The title is based off of an original, epic-legendary handout on the internet from Worldwatch called “Can Organic Feed Us All? Original, Worldwatch” which I’ve uploaded from my computer. It’s the best analysis, and I’ve included it for you to download.
Organic farming is important because conventional agriculture—which involves high-yielding plants, mechanized tillage, synthetic fertilizers and chemicals that kill nature—is detrimental to the environment. For instance, fertilizer runoff from conventional agriculture is the chief agent in creating dead zones—low oxygen areas where marine life cannot survive. Conventional farming also causes greenhouse gas emission, increased pest resistance and loss of biodiversity. In the long term, we will need diverse farms in the event of drought, disease, or crop failure.
The question about yields is extremely narrow-sighted, but organic farming is lower yield in transition. Obviously, if the soil is used to a certain conditioning of ammonia and soil fertilizers, you are not going to get as much food the next year in a test if you’re not using fertilizers. In Organic farming, fertility is built over years mostly by building soil bacteria. After 3-5 years, not only are you certified, but have a whole different scheme of soil fertility that has been proven to have higher yields. This is the document that talks about analyzed yields of organic and conventional farms in the developing world. It even has a podcast, in spanish..