Tag Archives: Agriculture

Organic or Not?

I’m weighing in on the recent hoopla created by the news from Stanford researchers,  that organically grown fruits and vegetables are no more ‘nutritious’ than those not carrying the label.

This should not be news.

The study did show half the bacterial contamination and only a fraction of the pesticides in the organic produce versus the other. Again, this is to be expected.

The purpose of organically grown produce is twofold: protecting and nurturing the soil, and the vital micro-organisms living there, and protecting nature and the rest of us from pesticides.  More vitamins was never part of the bargain.

The benefits or organic farming are well documented, as are the results of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Monsanto had a TV commercial years ago that proclaimed “Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible”, and true it is. But consider that with chemicals in the wrong concentrations, life itself is indeed impossible.  Here’s an easy example: All animals need oxygen, but only at 21%. Breathing 100% oxygen for more than a few days is a recipe for death. Not immediate death, mind you, but the kind where the damage is done and the wheels set into motion way before symptoms are felt. A line of death is crossed, and it’s invisible until it’s too late.  Clearly, more is not better.

Same with fertilizers. Soil is not just inanimate dirt. Soil is alive. It teems with life, life that enables organic material to break down into nutrients, life that enables plants to absorb those nutrients and grow.

Unless that life gets poisoned,  like it does when chemical fertilizers are used.  Soil that is ‘pumped up’ with chemicals rapidly loses the beneficial micro organisms common in rich soil.  Like lung tissue that burns in the face of too much chemical oxygen, soil burns and dies in the presence of too much chemical fertilizer.  Now think about that for second.

Years ago, the first farmers figured out that some crops needed rotating, and that fields needed to be left fallow, or not planted, in order to recover their fertility.  Our modern, profit maximizing solution is to pour on the artificial chemicals, fertilizers for plants, hormones for animals, and force much higher productivity.

As with most profit maximizing solutions, this one is short-sighted. Killing the soil and passing hormones into the food supply have to be considered, at the least, unwelcome  outcomes.

The harmful effects of pesticides on both the environment and humankind is without question. Society often makes trade-offs… this one is enough food to throw away, keeping prices low, or having poison free food.

I choose poison free whenever I can get it. I think you should too. And If we can help keep the soil from having too much of it,  then we all win.(photo by geo)