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I hate to break it to you, those of you who fervently believe in "being organic," but you're not. Those products you spend almost twice as much on, to bring "better nutrition" or "to save the environment" aren't doing anything of the sort. (mostly) Well, true, there are a handful of farmers and livestock growers that really are trying to "go back to the way things were" - a nebulous idea at best - but for the most part, you're just shelling out more money for a different product, and may actually be putting more dangerous "chemicals" in your body, such as those found in human waste. Yippie!

Here's what the USDA - the outfit that regulates all products being "certified" - considers to be organic:

- are raised without using most conventional pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, or sewage sludge-based fertilizers (read: human wastes. For the record, human wastes are not allowed on ANY salable crops in the US, period.)
LIVESTOCK - must be fed organic feed and given access to the outdoors (there is NO ruling on what this means. More on this later), animals may not be given antibiotics or growth hormones.

Also, both are not allowed the use of genetic engineering (boy, does this upset me - feel free to ask why) nor are they allowed ionized radiation in the handling/growth of their products.

Sounds great, right? Clean, pure, just like great-grandpa on the farm raised. The problem is, there are NINE PEOPLE insuring this in the United States. Nine. There are nine employees that work for the USDA, that oversee organics. There are 2.2 million acres of land in the US alone that are listed as "organic." And how did they get this listing? Trust. There are "certifiers" who report to these nine people and presents their list of stamps: Farmer A, B, and D say they are organic, and that's that. The NOSB (National Organics Standard Board) is made up of 15 VOLUNTEERS, and their responsibility is to GIVE SUGGESTIONS TO THE USDA for regulations. This is who is telling the country what is and isn't "organic.[ref]"

There is no testing. There is no proof, other than a quick tour of the entrance to a facility, and a shake of a hand that the processes on that farm are truly "organic." You need to know that, first and foremost. You also should know that while the USDA has pulled their certification from a handful of outfits that claimed to be organic but weren't, no organic producer has ever been fined for failing to comply to the very loose regulations.

You should also know that China provides 40% of our nation's "organic" produce and meat. So, if your intent is to "buy American," well. Probably not. The reason this should concern you, is that China has VASTLY different regulations as far as what can be put on crops. Human waste is acceptable. Your organic soy milk, tofu, etc. that comes from China, was most likely fertilized with human waste. The auditors that stamp "organic certified" on those crates bound for your grocery stores are not from here. They do not check the farms. They do not interview the workers. They've just always worked with so and so, and they said they're organic, and so: stamp.

As far as livestock: you buy free-range chicken or beef, because you have issues with the abhorrent conditions of most feed lots. Me, too. The idea of a large swath of field with cows happily munching clover, or hens pecking at bugs in a swept yard, others roosting on clean hen houses is appealing. But organic livestock farms look similar to the feed-lots you worry about. This is due to the complete lack of definition of "access to the outdoors," as instructed by the Organic Food Production Act (1990). The walk from semi-truck trailer to pen can qualify as "access to the outdoors." So can large barn doors on either side of a pig barn, where all of the pigs are encased in 4 foot by 2 foot pens, tethered. They have access, you see. There's nothing to say they have to BE out there. Just "access." So unless you know the farm, say it's an outfit in your town that you know, see, etc., you can't be sure that your steak came from a cow that died of natural causes on a hillside of clover, her loved ones all around her, mooing softly as she moved beyond the veil.

Sound cynical? You bet I am. The industry of organics pulled in a profit of 1 BILLION dollars in 1990. Guess how much they brought in 2005? 14.5 BILLION. The NOP (National Organics Program) was created as a marketing program housed within the USDA. There are NO REGULATIONS that address food safety, or differences in nutritional value or organically produced agriculture. [ref] That nutritional value bit should interest you a lot, since most of Americans (75%, to be exact) say that organically produced food is HEALTHIER than commercially produced food. More on that later, as it's a biggie.

The choice to go "organic" in your home is prompted by fear: fear that you are being posioned, that you are poisoning the earth, contaminating our water supplies, and so on. Most of the statistics that are used to illustrate how deadly pesticides and "chemicals" used in crop production are based on reports from a post WWII agriculture, which was when commercial use of insecticides began, and testing of harm was lax. And what do we think of as the worst of these? DDT, right? Guess what: DDT is ORGANIC. It also was responsible for fish kills, the thinning of bird's egg shells, which limited reproduction, and persists in the soil with a half-life of 2-15 years. It also stemmed the tide of millions of people a year dying of malaria and typhus, which was all but eradicated due to the spraying of DDT. It has been banned, although it was an incredibly effective anti-malarial agent that saved lives, mostly children in undeveloped countries. All of the negative effects resided in animals of various sorts - no traces were detected in humans. (For the record, as a bird lover, I have no issues with the ban of DDT. DDT was incredibly damaging to raptors reproduction numbers, who feed on smaller creatures that carried the chemicals in their bodies for long periods of time. Also, be sure to read further on the reference link provided re: breast cancer and DDT/E. Multiple studies have been done to find a link between these two, and have come back inconclusive, both in human tests and primates.)

And I get the desire to protect the environment. That's a choice I make as a gardener and as a consumer. But you should make an INFORMED choice. Just because you buy something with a stamp on it that claims to be "organically" produced, is it? And what makes that product inherently better than something without that label? Lack of cruelty? Death? Poisons applied to the soil? Let's go back to that "certified organic farm" for raising crops. The USDA requires that three years prior, that soil must not have had any synthetic chemicals applied to it. Because everything from the earth is beneficial to the soil, and things created in labs are Bad. I would like to remind everyone that crude oil comes... from the earth. As does plutonium and uranium. The vaccine to prevent polio is created in a lab. Ahem.

You should be aware that the application of pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, rodentcides, miticides, etc.) is one of the most heavily regulated aspects of agriculture[ref]. You cannot purchase most large scale -cides without a) being registered with the Department of Agriculture (which is how they tracked down Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma Fed. building bomber), b) logging each and every use to be submitted BEFORE application, c) logging each worker that applies, comes in contact with said pesticide, d) providing this information BEFORE SALE of your products. Also, if the application isn't done on a schedule, ie: x # of days before consumption, your product cannot be sold to the public. Pesticides used for commerical crops are labled with a "days to harvest" regulation that is strictly adhered to.

Ah, but people can fudge these documents that are presented at point of sale, right? That's pretty difficult, as there are huge staffs of people from various organizations that monitor all of these details and forms that must be filed[ref 1] [ref 2]. Remember the NINE PEOPLE that run the USDA's organic outfit? To its credit, Whole Foods has taken steps on its own to require companies that sell them products have additional documents that back up their claims to follow the basic regulations or organic certification - which we've established to be easily interpreted by the grower to suit their needs.

The synthetic vs. non-synthetic is the big issue. People who want to go "natural" want non-synthetic. They don't want their animals vaccinated against disease, or given growth hormones. I agree with the latter, but not the former. People who want to be "natural" don't want "chemicals" applied to the vegetables and fruit they'll consume. First off, the term "chemical" is a complete waste of time. Everything is chemical, from your saliva and tears, to water, to malathion. Synthetic vs. non-synthetic is a more accurate, albeit nebulous term.

Has everyone heard of pectin? This is what grandma added to fruit to make jams and jellies. Pectin occurs naturally in fruit. The pectin you buy has been synthetically created - and is COMPLETELY IDENTICAL IN ITS MOLECULAR STRUCTURE TO WHAT IS IN AN APPLE, there's just more of it in that cello-package - so you can buy it in a powdered form and reduce the time in the kitchen when making jelly. But this is a product that is not allowed in "organics." There is an emotional reaction in our society (since the book "Silent Spring" was published and started the environmental movement in the '60s) that things created by Scientists are Bad. They are harmful and damaging and will give us all cancer. Now, while I agree that dumping a bunch of pesticides on my lawn is probably not the way to go (I would say that it is DEFINITELY not beneficial), the use of a pesticide while FOLLOWING THE DIRECTIONS is probably okay. But most people don't follow the directions on the label.

And here's the rub: most contamination of water sources and soil are NOT from big farming/livestock outifts, but by HOMEOWNERS. To the tune of 10 times more applications of pesticides than commercial growers.[ref] Homeowners who believe in their heart of hearts that a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Instead of following the instructions for the application of Weed -n- Feed (a product I abhor, but for reasons that it a) is unselective in killing and b) fertilization and herbicides shouldn't be applied at the same time and c) there isn't a rate of application control with multiple products in a bag, such as that product is packaged), and taking the time to measure out the appropriate amount for their yard, they put the whole bag in the hopper and away they go. And then put more down next week, because they didn't get "fast enough results." Oh, but YOU don't put "chemicals" on YOUR lawn or flowers.

Rotenone[ref], made of crushed chrysanthemums, is a very popular NATURAL and ORGANIC pesticide for the control of lice, fleas, and other insects for the home garden.[ref] "Rotenone is perfect for the organic gardener!"[ref] Quick definition of terms: LD50 refers to the Lethal Dose of a product. How much (mg) will kill 50% of the population (kg), to be exact, typically measured in female white mice. The lower the number, the more toxic the product, as it takes LESS to kill 50%. Rotenone has an LD50 of 39mg/kg. Malathion? Who hasn't been warned against the dangers of Malathion? That has an LD50 of 1375 mg/kg.[ref] VASTLY different toxicology there, to the tune of the "Organic and Natural" Rotenone being 35 TIMES MORE TOXIC than the "synthetic" Malathion. Try going to your local organic nursery and buying malathion. But you will most certainly be able to purchase rotenone. Also, there is no first aid that can be administered for this product. You must go straight to the emergency room. It's now being linked to PARKINSON'S DISEASE. Yeah, sounds like a super product.

This all feeds into the mythos that natural is better. Mother Earth will not harm us. Science wants us dead. Now, I prefer natural methods of control in my garden (planting native plants, encouraging good bugs/birds, proper watering practices), and I advocate for the same with those I help through the Extension Agency. If I have an infestation of mites, and other methods fail me, I have no compunction about following the directions for use on an approved miticide in my garden. This idea that somehow organic products are more sound and more importantly, HEALTHIER for your body isn't based on any scientific evidence. Organic producers TELL YOU it's more nutritional, because they don't add pesticides to their foods. But again, there is no evidence that all organic producers are NOT using pesticides. And this doesn't mean that an organic apple has more vitamin C than a commercially produced apple. Most of the studies that have "proven" that organic has "90% more nutrients" than commercially grown DID NOT STUDY COMMERCIALLY GROWN FOOD. What was studied were foods produced in varying SOIL TYPES. Mineral rich soil resulted in higher mineral content of food.[ref]

Now, when farmers use sound farming practices such as crop rotation, amending the soil with organic matter (leaves, compost, vegetable matter) and apply proper nutrients to the soil (as outlined by a soil analysis, which I can't stress enough), they produced better, healthier food. REGARDLESS OF COMMERCIALLY OR ORGANICALLY PRODUCED. The problem is, these practices aren't widespread. I would like them to be! I would like better regulation on BOTH commercial and organic farms, instead of relying on handshakes and trust in the case of organic farms, and the lack of crop rotation and implementation of IPM on commercial farms.

In a nutshell, just because they say it's so, don't make it so. Your organic bananas are harvested before they ripen and before the application of various miticides, then stuck in a metal tank, and pumped full of methane gas to hasten their ripening. Just like grandma did. Don't make a knee jerk reaction to "be organic" because you worry about poisoning the earth, yourself, your animals. Just because something comes from a big commercial outfit, doesn't make it unhealthy. (Now, I avoid Con-Agra foods because of their hiring practices, and their slaughterhouse practices. I have more respect for people who make decisions such as this, than a blanket statement of "chemicals are bad for you, so I spend twice as much on apples to be healthier." That's a ridiculous statement to me.

Some of the few violators of NOS regulations: (and just try finding these - very few out there, although statistically, there are far more violations happening. There's just no STAFF to find them!)

  • California seed company listed as organic, using synthetic fungicides on seed

  • Berkely brewery claiming organic beer, using non-organic hops

  • Michigan beef farm claiming organic beef, using non-organic processing plants

  • Florida company claiming organically grown shrimp and fish. SEAFOOD IS NOT ALLOWED TO CARRY AN ORGANIC LABEL OF ANY KIND.

For the record: I use IPM, integrated pest management, to control biological/ecological problems in my garden. This means I grow healthy plants from the start, have good, healthy soil, don't over-water, and use natural methods FIRST to control bugs and disease. Failing this, I turn to approved and SPECIFIC pesticides to control issues. And I rarely have to turn to "chemicals." I buy from local growers to support small farms, and try to buy from local livestock facilities for the same purpose. Farms that I pass and see huge fields of grazing cattle. Or you know... I don't eat meat. It's all about being informed. I think most people have knee-jerk reactions, emotional responses without questioning WHO is telling them this, what their agenda is, and most importantly (to me) where's the proof? Where's the scientific evidence to support the claim?

Just... don't tell me you're "all natural." You're "green." And then drink a soda from a can. Or, that you are vegetarian because of the cruelty to animals, and then buy French fries from McDonalds. (Cooked in animal fats, probably acquired from ConAgra, the evil empire.) If you can be 100% (or, heck, 65%) certain that the grower supplying your fruits and vegetables and meat is strictly following the smart idea of IPM, soil building, and crop rotation to reduce pesticides and crop loss (oh, and not wasting our most precious resource: water), and purchase food at twice the cost of normal commercially grown food, then I commend you, and would probably load up at that farmer's market, too. But you can't be. You can't be certain. You can't convince me that your "organic" vitamins you bought at the headshop store are better for you, me, or the environment because it claims it is. I can find four studies showing the inaccuracies in their claim. Who's right?

Which is why you need to pay attention to legislation, regulations, and have a stronger presence in your local government. In other words, give those who tell us "facts" a reason to have a conscience. Don't just give growers an idea in how to make a bigger buck, because "organics" are known to cost more (because more crops are lost, due to ineffectual farming practices.)

And... rant over. If you made it this far, thanks.

Thanks to the Dallas Morning News for their excellent article this morning on Organic Farming, and for their resources. And for pushing me to write this. If only for myself...


( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, absolutely, I want to cause as little waste/damage to the environment as possible, as well! And ditto on cage-free not meaning cruelty free (which, I would expect most people's reasoning behind making a choice in where their meat comes from.)

I used to take "Organic" magazine, which was a JOKE. They had ads for Glad trashbags. (How about an article about how to get the most from composting?) They sold "gently grown organic cotton" sweaters via fashion spreads that cost $600. Tell me any "hippie" type eco-groovy person you know that can buy a $600 sweater?

It's a lifestyle they're selling, yes. A superior-mindset that these people (through consumerism) are better than the average person buying Tyson chicken (another producer I avoid because of their practices.) And there's no guaruntee that the product from A is less damaging to the environment than B.

The paper today had a few examples of cost: raisin bran
organic: 29.3 cents per ounce
commercial: 16 cents per ounce.

chicken breasts
organic: $8.99 a pound
commercial: $4.99 a pound.

GAH. And NO PROOF that one is "truly organic." Um... can you tell this is a hot button for me? Heh. I'll back away slowly now. :)
(Deleted comment)
... - stoney321 - Jul. 16th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
I just throw my hands up and go "GAH" sometimes. You just can't tell anymore. I do not feed my baby Gerber baby food because of the fillers that they use and their practice of promoting bottle feeding in third world countries (which I think they stopped because of government pressure). I also try and buy milk not treated with the rBST (is that the right one). Otherwise, I just throw my hands up. Good reading.
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't buy milk that has growth hormones in it, but I still buy commerically packaged milk. (More interesting to me is a study done on plastic versus opaque containers of milk, and how florescent lighting breaks down Vitamin D and B-12 in plastic containers.)

I just get tired of people who try and tell me their "organic apples" are better than my apples from the farmer's market. (Because small farm =/= organic.) Or that their use of pyrethin to control mosquitoes is better because it's organic. (Pyrethin kills bees and wasps, which is BAD for your garden.)

Sorry to spazz on everyone... :)
... - crayonbreakygal - Jul. 16th, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
Yah. Been down this road... The idea is good, but in practice the only "organic" claim you can trust right now is your own. I stll try to avoid synthetic or mass-produced, all else being equal, but sadly all else rarely is.
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
You are right with: you can trust what YOU grow. I personally disagree on the blanket statement about synthetics, but fully support people making informed decisions re: what they put in their body. Or their lawn. Or...

:) Thanks for speaking your piece!
... - moss6886 - Jul. 16th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Jul. 16th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - moss6886 - Jul. 16th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
Very interesting, thanks for sharing. The people I nanny for buy Kraft's "Back to Nature" line of 'organic' food, and I've been curious about what it actually means.
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:50 pm (UTC)
Well, it means that there's an attempt to either be "better for the environment" or they like that they can double the price on their macaroni and sell relatively the same thing. Heh.

If the USDA wasn't such a bloated mess, there could be actual regulations and MONITORING of these facilities, and you'd have a concrete answer. :)
... - nikitangel - Jul. 16th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Jul. 16th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Word Word Wordy McWord.

It's like 7-up claiming to be "natural", though they contain high-fructose corn syrup. The FDA had no standing on the word "natural" -- which is why 7-up can get away with that shit.

It's also the vegetarians who claim to be so due to the cruelty shown animals, yet they still drink milk or consume dairy products. A female cow only lactates for a couple of years. Then she has to get pregnant again. Half of the calves will be male, which are then sold for veal.

Another good resource for those who are interested -- The Center for Science in the Public Interest:

Jul. 16th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
HA! Yes to the 7-Up/HFCS! Gah, and try finding ANYTHING without that in a store. Like finding a needle in a haystack. I like the vegans who wear leather sandals. Yes, I get that's not what a vegan is. The point is THEY don't. :)

Oooh, and thanks for the link! *bookmarks*
... - deborahc - Jul. 17th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
I believe in organic gardening, when I know exactly what is going into the garden. I avoid using pesticides, herbicides and the like, and I try to buy vegetables grown without those things whenever possible. I know that organic doesn't necessarily mean what we think it does; I do believe we should encourage the methods that do the least harm to the environment, whether that be "organic" or not. I don't eat a lot of meat, but I drink milk, and eat dairy products. I buy my eggs from a source that I know allows their chickens to scratch in a pasture, and I buy locally whenever possible. I believe in supporting the local farmers because the produce is fresher and tastes better, and it helps keep our farmland from being turned into city land.
I too am very sceptical about vitamins etc that claim to be better because they are "natural". Hell, there are a lot of natural things that aren't very good for the human body.
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
The first thing I tell people (when working in capacity as a Master Gardener for the public) when they ask if I'm organic: "Yes. Unless I need a 'chemical'."

Absolutely you should change your cultural practices to have a better garden: native plants, wise watering, healthy soil, correct pruning/fertilization practices. If you want to get detailed, IPM is the best: if you raise healthy plants, you GROW healthy plants that will resist disease, pests. Bugs/disease attack WEAK plants.

SO yes, not blasting everything in the garden with Dursban is going to be my first choice. But if I get black spot on my roses, and I can't control it with cultural controls, I'll pull out the fungicide. But more importantly: I'll follow the directions. :)
... - midnightsjane - Jul. 16th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Jul. 16th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - midnightsjane - Jul. 17th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Ah, since this is exactly what my (embryonic, not-yet-officially-started) dissertation is (going to be) on, I really enjoyed reading your (well-documented) rant.

I'd add more, but you covered the basics quite well. And you certainly don't need me going all uber-geek in your comments!
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
Are you kidding? Uber-geek ALL OVER ME! (For the record, I'm a master gardener who volunteers with the Aggie/Horticulture Extension agency to educate and assist the public. If you need info you can't get your hands on, lemme know. I can usually find stuff some folks can't.)
... - superplin - Jul. 16th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Jul. 16th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - superplin - Jul. 16th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Heh - No! Keep going! - stoney321 - Jul. 16th, 2006 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Heh - No! Keep going! - superplin - Jul. 16th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
That's why I'm a vegetarian that just doesn't trust meat from the supermarket. Yeah, I was a spoiled kid whose pet cow ended up on the dinner table. (Of course, my entire family thinks it's some kind of weird save the animals hippie thing. Not just a really horrible memory of my mom cooking meat from my cow next to meat from Safeway.)

But yeah, truly frightening. I was thinking more about the antibiotics thing and wondering if sheep can ever be antibiotics free, considering that domestic sheep all get shots so they'll develop a proper appetite and not eat themselves to death. (Though I'm not sure what category the shot would fall under.)
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was vegetarian for several years myself because of the practices in slaughterhouses, not a PETA thing (which I personally don't agree with. Rant for another day.)

As far as antibiotics go... I'm not sold on not using them. Vaccines fall under this umbrella with the USDA, and I am a huge proponent of vaccination.

A lot of these issues can be resolved through the use of safer animal facilities. Less crowding, less abnormal feed (meaning, "produced feed" instead of letting them graze or eat grains.) But hey, we can thank Reagan and Bush I for deregulating that and making our nations slaughterhouses the filth pits they are. THANKS.
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
Which is why I buy Kosher meat.
Jul. 16th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
Man, you want to talk about RESTIRCTIONS... And me, too. If it's Kosher, you can trust it.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
HEEEEEE! Okay, as to Whole Foods, they have taken it upon themselves to actually CHECK DOCUMENTS from suppliers that claim to be organic. Now. Whether these documents are accurate, who's to say? That responsibility lies with the USDA's certification program and their auditors. But there have been multiple cases recently found of these auditors and certifiers simply stamping papers, and not even setting foot on the property.

So. What that means is the certification Whole Foods expects to see makes people at least go get a stamp. Which, that and a nickel will get you a piece of paper to cover your nickel.

(If the government - that takes our tax dollars to maintain these programs - would actually CHECK AND SHOW PROOF of non-cruelty to animals, or the non-use of pesticides - which many have been reprimanded for using pesticides ANYWAY - and other non-organic practices, it would mean a lot.)

You wanna buy some Arbonne? Hahahaha! She's going to kill me.
... - moss6886 - Jul. 16th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 16th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
Ohhh, fuck. I don't know how much of this also happens in the UK, but there's been rumblings here about how it's all a massive con. I'm just going to have to stick with veg from my mum's allotment, which I know for certain are organic! It's hard when you have a baby and you think you're doing the best for them, and then you hear stuff like this.
Jul. 16th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
Gah, I know! I don't want to hurt my kids, either. And yes to the whole "grow it yourself" aspect. (Although, I wouldn't fret overly about it. I mean, you're alive and kicking, right?)
... - coercion88 - Jul. 16th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 16th, 2006 09:12 pm (UTC)
I went to the grocery store right after I read this post and noticed that all the milk now says Organic on it; never said that before... I'm blaming you.
Jul. 16th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
You're so informative! Thanks for this. I'm not an organic pod person, but I'm always interested in things.

I've always been suspicious of the "organic" label. Not because of the 'long haired, hippie, freak, pro-commie' connotation, but because fiscally and in terms of regulation it just didn't seem truly feasible to me. Turns out I was correct in my gut feeling!

You're so cool, and I did so totally read the whole thing!
Jul. 16th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)

Seriously, thank you! This whole things bugs me something awful, and yes to the whole thing!

About a year ago there was a huge protest movement against Genetic Engineering - everyone passionate, everyone with a banner, and I can guarantee that 99% of them knew nothing about the science behind it.

You get people riled up with fear and ignorance and it's amazing what comes out if it.
Jul. 17th, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
Oh wow, this was a great roundup of information! I don't buy organic, but I do try to buy as much as I can from farmer's markets. On the theory that supporting small, relatively local growers is better than feeding more of my money into the big food businesses. (Plus, the farmer's market stuff is TASTY and fun!)

Also, both are not allowed the use of genetic engineering (boy, does this upset me - feel free to ask why) nor are they allowed ionized radiation in the handling/growth of their products.

Well, I can make a pretty good guess as to why this upsets you. A lot of crops that are genetically engineered are supposed to need less or less toxic insecticides or herbicides, or resist freezing damage. Which would seem to be working towards the same purposes as organic foods, if you are worried about the chemical inputs being used to grow your food. Am I close?

I don't know as much about how ionized radiation is used--my guess is that it has something to do with killing microbial pests on the surface of the food? Or pasturizing milk?

Here's a question--what's your take on using bacterial biocontrol? (i.e. treating the soil, seeds, or growing plants with bacteria that are non-pathogenic to the plants, but still trigger the plant's defenses against other microbes) I've read that this approach is acceptable for organic farmers. Which makes perfect sense, but makes me a bit wary.
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

Time Wot It Is

April 2017
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