Organic and Commercial have same amount of chemicals?

I admit I don’t get far in this book before I have to stop and rant. I’m seriously regretting buying the book. I don’t want to support his rationale for non-organic agriculture, but I do want to hear a variety of sides on the issue of feeding the world.

Here’s the latest: “The difficulty of framing a productive discussion about agricultural chemicals brings us face-to-face with an all-too-familiar hurdle: a popular misconception about nature and farming. ….Agriculture by its nature demands human interference with nature’s rhythms, and these interferences, synthetic or not, are necessarily contrary to what “nature” intends. No matter how sustainable the process, agriculture is designed to transform nature and yield outputs. Clearing a field with scythes, plowing a field with a tractor and a metal plow, planting hybrid seeds that have been bred over decades for resistance, applying chemicals–organic or not–with mechanized sprayers, employing irrigation systems, weeding fields with hoes mass-produced on the other side of the world, just looking at a vast forest and envisioning fields–these are only a few examples of how agriculture at its core remains an industrial process centered on the efficient production of commodities.”

At this point he is trying to say that non-organic agrifarming and organic farming are on the same playing field, chemically and in regards to their impact on the environment. He states that the chemicals we may ingest from either organic or non organic foods are the same, only some are naturally occurring, and others are synthetically produced. I read this portion of the book to Zack, my son, who is majoring in chemistry. His comment, “does the author know about endocrine disruptors?”

Check out what the NRDC, says about where endocrine disruptors can be found….pesticides. http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/qendoc.asp#exposure (copy and paste)

Finally, mcWilliams states, “organic agriculture struggles with its own demons of chemical dependency. The fact that farmers have been applying natural chemicals to agricultural systems for thousands of years does not mean that those applications are innocuous, especially when they’re used to promote the interests of commercialized organic agriculture.”

Folks, I have to tell you. I’d rather consume a ‘chemical’ that’s been used for thousands of years (tried and true)…and is still effectively, then use a chemical pesticide that not only can cause cancer but also can cause feminization, reproductive problems and anomalies in reproductive organs.

What do you think about chemicals used in organic farming? Anyone know what they are?

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4 thoughts on “Organic and Commercial have same amount of chemicals?

  1. Well right here the author demonstrates his ignorance of modern methods of organic farming. A while back organic farmers used to use all kinds of things to add to the fertility of the soil and organic growing was merely product substitution. We substituted bone meal for synthetic phosphorous, and fish fertlizer for synthetic nitrogen, etc, because of the misunderstanding that Nitrogen Phosphorous, and Potassium are most important things in plant nutrition. In fact, the whole theory of NPK was proposed by a fellow named Justus von Liebig, and 50 years after he proposed his theory on NPK being the most important things for plant growth he actually recanted, and admitted he was wrong. Unfortunately there was just too much money to be made by continuing to promote this recanted theory, so the industry continues. Upon further investigation, mostly through the work of Dr Elaine Ingham from the Universtiy of Oregon and her Soil Food Web investigations,http://www.soilfoodweb.com/ and Dr Teuro Hig’s work in Japan http://emrojapan.com/ with Effective Micro-organism solutions, we have discovered that micro-organisms in the soil are the most important thing for soil health and plant health, and that they build soil structure, add nutrients, make soil nutrients available from things like the rocks that are already there, and also protect plants against diseases. No need to test for NPK or to put any chemicals on at all. Other scientists have demonstrated that plants that are attacked by insects are actually nutrient deficient in some way, so if we have microbes that deliver nutrients the chances of this are far less. No need for safer’s soap. The only thing that microbes ask from us is a steady supply of organic matter…compost, clippings, leaves, small branches,even newspaper, the things we are dying to get out of our garden and our yard since we might be criticized for being untidy. They also ask for a steady supply of moisture. Don’t confuse moisture with water. If we build the organic matter in our soil and mulch with organic materials we need to apply only a fraction the water we would have to if we maintained bare soil with no organic matter. He is hartily mis -informed. Another thing is that scientists have actually seen a totally different gene expression in crops that are chemically fertilized compared to ones that are organically grown. I do nutrient testing with a Refractometer, and find consistently local organic produce has at least twice the nutrients of grocery store produce, even organic store produce. Not only that, the nutrient levels drop very quickly after harvest, even though they remain well above non organic produce from the store for days!!! I also kept a dozen of my homegrown eggs in the fridge for six monthes and, after doing the old “float test” to see if any were rotten ( hydrogen sulfide builds up and causes rotten eggs to float) I ate some for breakfast, and they were still much better in taste, texture and edibility than standard store bought eggs!

    • I think we should do a test taste experiment with some of the foods grown around here. How about potatoes from my garden and potatoes from the fraservalley? or an organic pear and a non organic pear. We could even have taste tests with veggies like broccoli or cauliflower. Hmmmmm!
      I’m only a quarter of the way through the book. I haven’t got to his suggested solutions yet, but he’s lost so much credibility with me that I don’t know whether i would believe what he suggests.
      It won a “books for a better life award’ so maybe there is a light at the end of the book.
      I’ll keep you posted every morning with the latest!

      • Alright, it’s a date. After this bizarre weather goes away I will come over with my refractometer and we will do some nutrient, and taste testing. and seed sharing….
        Books for a Better Life Award? Jeesh!
        I need to start writing books!

  2. Oh, and by the way if there is lots of mulch there is little need for weeding, and weeds are caused by soil imbalances which are mostly caused by compaction that is caused by the use of chemical fertilizers.

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