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Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming uses pesticides, etc.


LongHaul
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Guest longinvestor

Great article on organic foods.  One point they make that shocked me was that organic farmers also use pesticides.

 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

What with the growth of Whole Foods et al., there are growing rumblings of non-organic food routinely being sold as organic. This is to be expected with the hype and pricing power with the term organic

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The problem here as I see it is "organic" has a rather specific definition which "organic" farmers try to follow to the letter. However, in popular usage "organic" has a broad connotation that doesn't line up with the actual practices "organic" farmers use. Farmers probably do a good job following organic standards but those standards would shock the average organic consumer. I don't think this should come as a surprise to anyone considering how susceptible most people are to marketing and the appeal of choosing organic because it is good for the environment, planet, consumer, etc...

 

Also, Hepatitis B vaccines engineered into bananas... that's frickin cool!!

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This is a pretty good article.  A point which is not entirely missed by the article but perhaps not given enough emphasis such that it could be missed, is that just because industrial organic is not all it's cracked up to be does not mean that all fruits/vegetables/foods are equal.  There are a wide variety of practices, some of which can provide very high yields, and much more delicious and nutrient dense foods than others, and for the most part neither industrial organic nor industrial conventional use them.  One reason for this, in some instances, is that while they may be more productive on a per-acre basis, they may  also be more labor intensive, and labor is expensive!  Another possible reason is that industrial farming generally produces food for wide distribution, and there are often trade-offs in quality for perishable foods in order to obtain sufficient ship-ability for wide distribution.  Visiting farms, seeing and talking to farmers about their practices, and directly comparing/tasting different foods that were produced in different systems may give the best practical understanding of such considerations. 

 

In a broad sense, one could posit that there is a difference between value and price in food choices just as there is in investing choices.

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Expensive stuff Eric!  Will that stuff kill you?

 

Snake Venom is organic but deadly.  Some of these organic pesticides may be just as bad as traditional ones.

The older I get I have realized things are often more nuanced and complex than just "good and bad".  Organic vs non-organic is a great example of this.

 

 

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Expensive stuff Eric!  Will that stuff kill you?

 

Snake Venom is organic but deadly.  Some of these organic pesticides may be just as bad as traditional ones.

The older I get I have realized things are often more nuanced and complex than just "good and bad".  Organic vs non-organic is a great example of this.

 

 

It's very concentrated -- just a tablespoon (diluted in larger volume of water) is needed to treat my citrus trees which are being devoured by aphids.  It's cheaper than ladybugs which just fly away to the neighboring yards.  It's the same stuff that is used on children's heads to treat lice.  Also used in over-the-counter flea treatment for cats and dogs.

 

Organic and poisonous:  we have oleander growing in the garden.  Don't eat that stuff!

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You have to talk to the farmer.  I do business with a couple of farmers who have told me that they don't even call themselves organic, because 1) it is too expensive to be certified, and 2) they would never use the chemicals most organic farmers use.

 

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