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This comes close to how I feel about the organic movement. That's not to say that there aren't good reasons to like some some methods used by organic farmers.


 

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Let's see what regular people think of the Stanford study: http://www.theonion.com/articles/organic-food-no-more-nutritious,29455/

"I think these scientists need to go back and check their figures. I paid $4 for this carrot."

Rochelle McEveety
Pigment Blender

So I was reading the comments in the Stanford study article, and this one caught my attention:

You should wonder why it takes piles of paperwork to prove that you are organic, but if you want to use pesticides, GMO seeds, and chemical fertilizers....it takes NOTHING.

What am I missing? If it took "nothing" to prove you're organic, wouldn't the people upset by this be the pro-organic ones?

And why would anyone want to "prove" that their product is GM?

I think the implication is that you can use pesticides, GMO seeds, and chemical fertilizers 'with impunity', but if you don't do or use any of these terrible things, you saddled with piles of paperwork. It is, of course, extremely misleading,

Organic food may not have more vitamins than non-organic, but it doesn't poison the soil and eventually the nearby water (and water down the river) like pesticides used to grow food do. It also doesn't encourage super weeds or super pests. Call me a hippie, see if I give a damn.

The reason I said it was misleading is the implication that burden of showing that pesticides and fertilizers are OK to use falls on the manufacturers, not the users (one can certainly debate about whether that burden is being met - it is a separate issue). Thus, saying that "if you want to use pesticides, GMO seeds, and chemical fertilizers....it takes NOTHING" is highly misleading - it just doesn't take anything on the part of the users, assuming they're using these things as directed.

Can someone clarify something for me: are super weeds or super pests in any way "super" with respect to anything other than being resistant to pesticides? Is the problem just that farmers will use even more pesticides because it now takes bigger dosages to have the same effect?

The I ask is this: I've long been really annoyed at the routine prophylactic use of antibiotics in raising livestock (I'm not talking about therapuetic use.). It is bad because it runs the risk of breeding 'super' bacteria we won't be able to fight with antibiotics. But if one thinks that pesticides are bad, why get upset if one breeds superpests that are resistant to them, but aren't in other respects worse than non-super pests?

I think the whole super pest, super weed argument is a bit of shameless propaganda used by the organic movement. There is nothing super about that, it's the way it's always been.

Pests and weeds evolve to meet whatever system you use to combat them, evolution doesn't give a damn if you are an organic farmer or a conventional one. There are good methods in both systems to help slow the evolutionary progress of the weeds and pests. Planting areas of non GMO crops next to those using GMOs can slow the process in conventional agriculture for instance.

Someone needs to do a long range study on the prophylactic use of anti-biotics in cattle. From the anecdotal evidence, having free-range (genuinely, not just legally) animals improves the animal's overall health and reduces the need for anti-biotics in comparison to those in CAFOs.

I have to re-assert that grass fed beef is so very much sweeter than typical Grade-A stock. I don't even bother eating meat that isn't grass fed any more, cause I know I won't care for it. Can't say the anit-biotics change the taste, but probably walking around and the diet effect a change.

Thus, saying that "if you want to use pesticides, GMO seeds, and chemical fertilizers....it takes NOTHING" is highly misleading - it just doesn't take anything on the part of the users, assuming they're using these things as directed.

Yup

Did you read this part of the article and follow the link to the study?

A separate new study from Oxford University in the UK found that organic farming may not be better for the environment either. The researchers cited that organic products such as milk, cereals, and pork generate higher greenhouse gas emissions than their conventional counterparts. However, organic beef produced lower emissions. That study was published online September 4 in the Journal of Environmental Management.

A couple of things, the issue of pesticides and the water and environment are a problem. The use of GMOs has helped reduce the use of pesticides overall. More needs to be done.

But as the UK study points out organic farming is not without it's own set of problems.

The issue of super weeds and super pests is in my opinion a bogus one. Evolution applies equally to those who use conventional and organic methods. Weeds and pests evolve and adapt to whatever system you use, so to cast it as a problem unique to GMOs or conventional farming is unfair.

We need to use the best methods we can to produce the food we need and at the same time protect the environment. That includes the best from both organic and conventional.

My problem with the arbitrary standards set for organic is that many of them are more like religious dogma than science based standards.

Damn hippies :)

I did read the article, but confess to not yet following the link. I'll have to go back and look for links, but the reading I've done on studies is that initially GMO leads to reduced pesticide use, then the pests adapt, and then there's a conundrum. One of the issues with adaptation is that this kind of tweaking has sped up the pest and weed adaptation, so more tweaking needs to take place sooner.

I can say that the organic farmers/growers I know don't use any pesticide, although I am painfully aware of the legal definition of "organic." I took some pains to search out people at the farmers market that I can trust. One berry grower went from crop-saving pesticides to none about 5 years ago. Her stuff was fine before, but it's as good as it ever was now. Unfortunately, she lost apples to a late frost last spring. My growers might be guilty of tilling and using some gas-powered vehicles, but that's about it. Since I can visit the farms (hoping to make a farm crawl this fall), i can vouch for what does exist on their land.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with GMO is who is promoting its use. The way that Monsanto practices business is not conducive to family farming - GMO or none.

I really should dress more hippie-fied.

Doesn't that study pretty much show right up front that the difference is in volume? one organic field has less impact than on standard field, but on the individual product level the standard production has lower impact.

THere are two factors in that difference, huge volume saves on environmental expenditures, and potential lower productivity of the organic field.

Do they address which it it is? If its volume, it just supports larger organic farms.

Out of curiosity, I looked up 'organic food' on Wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food

The weight of the available scientific evidence has not shown a consistent and significant difference between organic and more conventionally grown food in terms of safety, nutritional value, or taste.

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