We shouldn’t even be asking the question about the relative productivity of organic farming until we’ve addressed the extravagant wastefulness of consuming animal-based foods rather than plants. (By most accounts, it takes from two to ten pounds of corn to produce a single pound of meat.) If you truly want to minimize the resources that go into your diet, then eat plant-centered meals and buy your food from your local farmer’s market. This is food that, for the most part, would not even be grown in the absence of local demand. It’s therefore a bad-faith argument that eating local, organic food is somehow depriving poor people of their share of the earth’s resources.
Sullivan’s consistently fair about airing both sides of a given issue. I was happy to see my response reach his large audience.