On a basic level, the health, skills and number of workers affect the efficiency and functioning of the farm – a strong, healthy and skilled workforce is more likely to be resilient to the day-to-day challenges of farm life and especially new ones arising with climate change.
So there is no virtue in having a labour-lean, capital-intensive agriculture when labour is abundant and capital is thin on the ground. It will not improve quality of life, which is a more powerful underlying aim than mere ‘efficiency’.
Now is the time to build a new, more humane, more robust food system on the ruins of the one that has failed us. This nation can have an ample, nutritious food supply without exploiting and endangering the people who produce and process it.
Right now, farming with toxic pesticides is the norm. But, for the health of all people from farm to table, we need to create a food system where organic is for all. The solution is here—we just have to grow it.