The Labor of the Land
Organic farming creates more jobs, U.K. study finds
Organic agriculture has traditionally been linked to health and environmental benefits. Now it can add job creation to its portfolio: A study of nearly 1,200 farms in the United Kingdom and Ireland found that organic farming creates on average 32 percent more jobs than conventional agriculture. The U.K.’s agricultural workforce has declined 79 percent since 1952. But the Soil Association, Britain’s organic certification body, notes that if the nation were to convert all of its farms to organic, it would create an additional 93,000 farm jobs. Currently only 4 percent of Brit farming is organic. Some argue that full-scale organic conversion wouldn’t be a benefit: “The most expensive cost for farmers is labor and that is why organic food as a rule of thumb costs half as much again,” says one economist. Nevertheless, applications to the Soil Association have more than doubled in the past year, so somebody in the U.K. must view employing members of their community as more than merely a cost.