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View Full Version : Do you buy organic?



hullabaloo
Nov 5th, 2008, 12:54 PM
If so why? What do you believe to be the advantages of organic farming?


Last week I sat through a lecture, which concluded that we should be supporting conservation friendly farmers not organic. Some of the arguments against organic farming (copied direct from lecture) being:

Problems with some of the methods used in Organic farming
•Fungicides and insecticides include chemicals that are ‘natural’ but potentially dangerous (e.g. nicotine, copper salts, boleto toxin*)
•Frequent mechanical weeding may damage nesting birds, worms and other invertebrates
•Mechanical weeding can provoke soil erosion, digging deeper kills more wildlife although organic rotation which includes ‘catch’ crops can significantly decrease erosion
•Use of seaweed as organic manure requires for it to be collected, then processed using energy and chemicals then sprayed on fields. Is this more environmentally friendly than producing nitrogen?
•Cotton BT -Boleto toxin gene in GM cotton so insects die if they eat the cotton. Organic farmers are allowed to spray the substance on fields -extremely toxic to humans and crops, but they can be sold after a withdrawal period.
•Nitrogen in manure is more mobile than inorganic nitrogen hence it is more biologically active and can cause more pollution
•producers suggest organic food is healthier as it is more natural, no evidence to support that it tastes better or is healthier than more conventionally produced food
•Organic produce has more cases of salmonella in eggs, poultry and pork, cannibalism by laying hens and a higher death rate of poultry; higher level of bacteria than on conventional farms
•Might also pose a higher risk of mycotoxins, including ergot, aflatoxin (Aspergillus flavus) as in peanuts, but not confirmed
•Overall production / ha. is less if organic methods are used, not only because yields are less, but the ground has to lay fallow for longer, so each field produces less over a 10 year period than with conventional farming (on average produce 25% less food per hectare than conventional farms) benefits mainly from reduced intensity
•Britain only produces 50 -60% of food needs, if all land were organic that would be even less

Of course there was disadvantages discussed for all farming types and they won't apply to all farms. However, my lecturer was up for a discussion but nobody got involved (she isn't for organic farming). It would have made a good debate but I have no idea how to counter the above arguments. So does anyone want to enlighten me on the positives of organic farming? Is it really any better than conventional farming?

Risker
Nov 5th, 2008, 06:41 PM
This is the thread you want - http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3429

cobweb
Nov 5th, 2008, 07:45 PM
thanks, hullabaloo, that is very interesting, i've been reading a few bad things about organic farming lately myself.

i think the only real ethical organic growing is to grow in your own garden/yard/field but even that isn't always easy and you have to allow for quite a bit of natural wastage if you're growing without any chemical assistance.

horselesspaul
Nov 5th, 2008, 08:32 PM
i think the only real ethical organic growing is to grow in your own garden/yard/field but even that isn't always easy and you have to allow for quite a bit of natural wastage if you're growing without any chemical assistance.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has some admirable views on this, for me, and is actually doing something about it (http://www.rivercottage.net/landshare/).