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  1. #101
    DavidT's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    Our veg at home is grown vegan organic.

    Now, I'm sure there's something psychological about this, but our home-grown food tastes 'clean'. Whenever I eat prepared/bought vegan food, it seems to give me a (bloated?) feeling, not really sure of how to describe it. Getting back to basic, simple, fresh food is cleansing in some difficult-to-define way.

    Even if it is purely psychological, I don't care, it's all fun!
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  2. #102
    *live*&*let*live
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    Aye, it's all gravy baby!

    ETA there are some smashing offers on organic at the minute (at the supermarkets), which contradicts my earlier post!

  3. #103

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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    I come at organic produce from a different angle than normal. I have eaten solely organic food (except things which can't be, e.g. salt) for the last three years.

    This is less because of some vague 'oh it's better for the environment' thought, and more because I don't see non-organic food as fitting the definition of vegan.

    Pesticides are designed specifically to kill animals (and also kill animals other than their intended targets). Killing animals deliberately, for your own gain, is not vegan. Spraying it on a field may not seem as aggressive as shooting every greenfly with a miniature bullet, but it has exactly the same effect.

    In the UK, 7-12 organic pesticides are permitted, depending on the certification authority. The Soil Association now requires that if you want to use any of them, you must a) get their permission in advance and b) come up with a plan for avoiding having to use them again. There's also the possibility of them using e.g. gelatine in insect traps, but then non-organic producers also use animal inputs (including manure as mentioned). It's not perfect, but until stockfree-organic systems are widespread, or every vegan has the time and space to grow their own food, I think it's the best we can do for now.

    There are also issues with the companies which produce artificial fertilisers and pesticides - they're pharmaceutical/agri-business conglomerates which you probably aren't that fond of already, for animal testing reasons. So why support them?

    I should add that my food is only from small producers/shops, not supermarkets. I know people have this idea that organic food is more expensive, but that has more to do with economies of scale than the genuine cost of producing equivalent items. Anyway, we (several guinea pigs, a dog and two humans) have lived organically (toiletries/cleaning products and clothes as well as food) on £12k p.a., so it isn't hard if you have the right priorities.

    With regard to the points about soya earlier, it's perfectly possible to grow it in Europe (Germany grows quite a bit of organic soya), and there's nothing wrong with a bit of shipping (by sea, not air freight) of produce which doesn't grow here, provided the bulk of our food is more locally-produced.

    There was also a false dichotomy given earlier - the choice isn't between foreign organic apples and local conventional ones, there are UK-grown organic apples.
    Even if there weren't, the choice isn't quite so complicated as it might seem - have you calculated the relative environmental cost of both the production and use of oil-based fertilisers and pesticides, as compared to shipping an equivalent apple from New Zealand? I couldn't find very accurate data to use, but as a rough estimate I once worked out that the foreign organic apple was better by at least one order of magnitude!

  4. #104

    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    Surely you should be buying organic and/or local too? Considering the effects transportation has on the enviroment. I try to do both, or atleast local. But I've also been told that there's very little difference between organic and non-organic, and the only truely organic veg/fruit is what you grow yourself.

  5. #105

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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    Oh I don't dispute that - most of my veg is UK-grown, European if not. But rice doesn't grow in the UK, and there's nothing inherently unsustainable about trading foods which only grow in certain parts of the world. The only issue is the method of transportation. And you may well see modern-style sailing ships in use for freight before too long. I wasn't saying not to bother buying local, but if there is a choice only between foreign organic and local conventional, I would still go for the organic option for the reasons in my last post.

    If you take one of those eco-footprint quizzes floating round the web, and choose the vegan option for your food, you'll see that the food proportion of your whole impact is tiny. The big things are goods and services (assuming your transport is also low, if you don't drive/fly), some of which you can control (e.g. buying secondhand furniture), others you can't (services paid for by your council tax etc). So the whole importing food thing, while important, has far less impact anyway if you're already vegan - if you are going to spend time focusing on what to reduce it may as well be something which makes more of a difference. What I mean is, it's good to make an effort in that direction, but there's no need to feel too guilty if you occasionally eat some organic oranges shipped from north Africa.

    It depends on the operation, as someone pointed out earlier, much organic produce is grown by the same big companies and using similar methods to conventional items. But it's certainly not true that commercially available organic produce is hardly different to non-organic - you just have to choose who you buy from carefully. Smaller producers will be less likely to monocrop and more likely to companion plant, somewhat like how you might grow on a really big allotment.

    Of course you could go the easy route and plant an edible forest garden, vegan-permaculture style! Requires very little maintenance, once planned and planted. It's got all the advantages of foraged food, but with the added benefit that you decide exactly what you want to eat, and have it conveniently all in one place.

  6. #106
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    songlife "I also don't like the idea about more manure being used to produce organic."

    Not only is animal excrement used as a manure, but animal bones and animal blood (blood collected at slaughterhouses) are used as manure, by organic farmers and gardeners. Of course, non-organic farmers and gardeners can use these products too. However they tend to use them less, because they are a more expensive way to increase yield, than plant food made from aerial nitrogen reacted with natural gas (so-called chemical fertilizer).

    verencemos "conventional farmers can't grow food well and remain in business without some way to mark their product as premium"

    I appreciate what you are saying and I believe you are correct. People, especially wholesalers, are often just looking for the cheapest they can buy. Farmers who use sustainable agriculture would have to find a way to communicate to people why it is better to buy food plants that have been grown in soil with good tilth, and a good nutrient profile from seeds of cultivars selected for flavor rather than appearance and shipability and shelflife. I know that some people will buy cold stored (picked many weeks or months previously) western apples, shipped across the continent, that have been shined up with oil, before they will buy fresh-picked apples, shipped from just a couple hundred miles away, with their natural dull surface. To me, the natural dull surface looks more appealing. These apples smell better as you walk by them. But I've heard shoppers praising the shined up apples and denigrating the dull ones. I think the solution is branding. Labeling produce with the actual farm it came from, and advertisements explaining why it both tastes better and is more nutritious if it came from that farm. Or even just explain how it tastes better because it picked up more nutrients from soil with better tilth. I know it can be done. Branding. I am so convinced that it would be successful, that I thinking about how, after awhile, methods of stopping counterfeiters would likely need to be instituted also.

    One issue is the issue of picking. Growers of snap beans (beans that are picked and eaten with their pods, before the beans mature) have worked hard to develop cultivars on which all the pods mature at the same time, so they can be picked by going down the row of beans once, instead of once a week for 6 weeks. And grew in compact, easy to access by machine bushes, instead of climbing and spreading out all over the place. Cheaper harvesting costs. At first these bush-form, pick-at-once varieties just didn't taste awfully good at all. After years of breeding, they finally got them so that they tasted fairly tolerable. But still not like the "original" snap beans. Which, these days, most people in industrialized countries may have never tasted! These bush varieties got marketed to backyard gardeners also, and seed catalogs usually don't make it clear how much better the taste is of the climbing varieties that produce over a long period, or how advantages it is for a backyard gardener, as opposed to a large scale farmer, to have a few quarts a week for 6 weeks, from the same small row of plants, instead of a few bushels all on one day? Sweet and juicy and with a snappier snap when you snap them, with wonderfully aromatic juice flying out when you snap them, much better aroma when you snap them, and a much better texture when you chew them, either raw or steamed.
    Soil to soil.

  7. #107
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    Quote soilman View Post
    I know that some people will buy cold stored (picked many weeks or months previously) western apples, shipped across the continent, that have been shined up with oil, before they will buy fresh-picked apples, shipped from just a couple hundred miles away, with their natural dull surface. To me, the natural dull surface looks more appealing. These apples smell better as you walk by them. But I've heard shoppers praising the shined up apples and denigrating the dull ones. I think the solution is branding. Labeling produce with the actual farm it came from, and advertisements explaining why it both tastes better and is more nutritious if it came from that farm. Or even just explain how it tastes better because it picked up more nutrients from soil with better tilth. I know it can be done.
    Hear hear. We have those shined-up apples here, sometimes imported from the US even though Britain is a perfectly good environment for growing apples. I never understand why anyone wants them, they look as if they're made of plastic. Meanwhile orchards here are being grubbed up because they're not profitable http://www.geographical.co.uk/Magazi..._-_Nov_08.html

  8. #108
    made of soil soilman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?

    From eating food grown in more than one place, over several years, I learned something that surprised me at first (this was 40 years ago): with many kinds of f's and v's, when you eat them, you can smell and taste the soil in which they were grown. Go to a few fields. Say 3. Go to 3 different geographical regions, or go to 3 different farms that use distinct methods of manuring the soil. From each, pick up a handful of soil and put it near your nose. Smell it. Then plant the same apple variety, or the same potato variety, etcetera, in each field, harvest it, and taste it. You'll be able to name which apple came from which field. This is probably mostly due to nasal sensory tissues, but it is perceived as taste.

    We can taste whether food was grown in chicken feces or cattle feces. We can taste the kind of composted was used. This is not due to soil clinging to the food. It is due to tiny tiny amounts of material that the plant absorbs through its roots. Most likely it is the metabolic products of micro-organisms that thrive on the organic matter in the soil. Our noses are extraordinarily sensitive to these substance, to very low concentrations of them. Their essence pervades the fruit or vegetable.

    Soil character adds a distinctive character to food grown in it. The food has its own character, genetically-determined, and it also has an environmentally-determined character, which for food plants, has a lot to do with the water and soil it was grown in. When you are eating produce, you are in a way, really eating soil. I think the influence of soil type is more important than most people realize. Cultivating plants is about cultivating soil. You cultivate the bacteria that live in soil, by your selection, first, of field, and second, by how you manure your field, by what sort of compost or green manure or mulch you use.

    When you are eating vegan grown f&v's, you are eating essense of the f or v, as well as essence of oak leaf and maple leaf, alfalfa, oats, and buckwheat (cover crops that are composted). When you are eating conventionally organically grown food, in addition to eating essence of f or v, you are also eating essense of blood, bone, and feces.
    Soil to soil.

  9. #109
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    From Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems:

    Background
    Sale of organic foods is one of the fastest growing market segments within the global food industry. People often buy organic food because they believe organic farms produce more nutritious and better tasting food from healthier soils. Here we tested if there are significant differences in fruit and soil quality from 13 pairs of commercial organic and conventional strawberry agroecosystems in California.

    Methodology/Principal Findings
    At multiple sampling times for two years, we evaluated three varieties of strawberries for mineral elements, shelf life, phytochemical composition, and organoleptic properties. We also analyzed traditional soil properties and soil DNA using microarray technology. We found that the organic farms had strawberries with longer shelf life, greater dry matter, and higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds, but lower concentrations of phosphorus and potassium. In one variety, sensory panels judged organic strawberries to be sweeter and have better flavor, overall acceptance, and appearance than their conventional counterparts. We also found the organically farmed soils to have more total carbon and nitrogen, greater microbial biomass and activity, and higher concentrations of micronutrients. Organically farmed soils also exhibited greater numbers of endemic genes and greater functional gene abundance and diversity for several biogeochemical processes, such as nitrogen fixation and pesticide degradation.

    Conclusions/Significance
    Our findings show that the organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit and that their higher quality soils may have greater microbial functional capability and resilience to stress. These findings justify additional investigations aimed at detecting and quantifying such effects and their interactions.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  10. #110
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not)?



    PULLMAN, Wash.—Side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms and their fruit found the organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse.
    "Our findings have global implications and advance what we know about the sustainability benefits of organic farming systems," said John Reganold, Washington State University Regents professor of soil science and lead author of a paper published today in the peer-reviewed online journal, PLoS ONE. "We also show you can have high quality, healthy produce without resorting to an arsenal of pesticides."

    From WSU Research Finds Organic Farms Produce Better Fruit, Leave Healthier Soil:

    Among their findings:
    • The organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds.
    • The organic strawberries had longer shelf life.
    • The organic strawberries had more dry matter, or, "more strawberry in the strawberry."
    • Anonymous testers, working at times under red light so the fruit color would not bias them, found one variety of organic strawberries was sweeter, had better flavor, and once a white light was turned on, appearance. The testers judged the other two varieties to be similar.
    The researchers also found the organic soils excelled in a variety of key chemical and biological properties, including carbon sequestration, nitrogen, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and micronutrients.

    DNA analysis found the organically managed soils had dramatically more total and unique genes and greater genetic diversity, important measures of the soil's resilience to stress and ability to carry out essential processes.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  11. #111
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Overall, it's only sense that organically-grown is the way forward, preferably veganic.

    It's alright playing devil's advocate and saying 'modern pesticides can be much less toxic than some organic pesticides' but we need to avoid pesticides altogether, something small organic farmers are far more likely to do. I mean, why would you want to kill anything, chemically or organically?


    Quote Risker View Post
    With the lower crop yields of organic production more land is needed... hence more habitat destruction.
    This is not true - at least, not in my experience. We produce loads of food on a quite small area; indeed, one of the beauties of organic cultivation is that a lot of food (and a lot of variety) can be crammed in a small space.

    I also talk to 'commercial' organic growers - that is, people who make their living selling their produce - and they don't consume huge tracts of land and indeed are very conscious of their effect on land. They tend to concentrate food in polytunnels and use proper crop rotation.

    Having said that, the really 'commercial' organic farmers - those producing stuff for Trashco, Unsafeways and the likes - do consume huge amounts of land and have less concern about their long term effects. They also are more likely to consume massive amounts of fossil fuels via mechanised farming.

    These agri-businesses might be important for the general economy but remember, it's nice to be important but much more important to be nice.
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  13. #113
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Thought this article was interesting, compare the sources for organic and inorganic fertilisers.


    Understanding Fertilisers

    The main fertilisers you will come across are principally used to supply plant foods as follows and I have classified them into the various types.

    Straight fertilisers

    Inorganic

    Fertiliser contains approximately
    Sulphate of Ammonia 23% N
    Sulphate of Potash 48% K
    Superphosphate of Lime 18% P
    Basic Slag 10-20% P
    Urea 46% N
    Extran (ammonium nitrate) 35% N
    Nitro Chalk 16% N
    Nitrate of Soda 16% N

    Organic


    Fertiliser contains approximately
    Bone meal 20% N
    Dried Blood 12% N
    Hoof and Horn 13% N


    Compound fertilisers


    Inorganic

    Nitrate of Potash - contains approximately 13% N, 45% K

    Organic

    Fish Meal - contains approximately 6-10% N, 6-12% K


    General or balanced fertilisers

    These are mostly proprietary products

    Inorganic, powdered or granular fertilizers.

    Growmore. Equal parts N,P,K. Mainly for incorporating in the soil before planting.

    Rose fertilisers. Higher in potash than Growmore. Suitable for all flowering shrubs as well as roses.

    Spring and summer lawn fertilisers. High in nitrogen to promote quick growth.

    Autumn lawn fertilisers. Low in nitrogen, higher in phosphate (to strengthen roots) and potash.

    John Innes base. Mainly for making compost to the John Innes formula. Add 4 oz per bushel (8 gal.) for J.I. No. 1.

    Q4 base. Also for making potting compost. Rather expensive for use outside in the garden. Q4 HN is the same but higher in N.

    Chempak base fertilisers. Mainly for making soil-less composts for seeds and cuttings or potting

    Inorganic liquid feeds or soluble crystals

    Chempack liquid fertilisers. Soluble crystals for applying with watering can. There are several different formulations for different purposes.

    Phostrogen. Soluble fertiliser high in potash. Good for flowers and fruiting plants like tomatoes.

    Miracle Grow. One of several new products ont he market. They are liquid fertilisers for general use.

    Organic, solid fertilisers

    Fish, blood and bone. For raking into ground before planting. High in potash by the standards of organic fertilisers, so, good for flower beds.

    Calcified Seaweed. Similar to fish, blood and bone.

    Organic Liquid fertilisers

    Maxicrop. Made from seaweed extract. For general use on established plants.

    Maxicrop tomato. Formulated for tomatoes, but good for any flowering or fruiting crop.

    Baby Bio. Similar to Maxicrop, but mainly for house plants

  14. #114
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Mind you, Risker, that is primarily about gardening isn't it, rather than agriculture? When I had that exchange with the Vegan Organic Network people a while back they reckoned that commercial farmers didn't use the blood, bone etc much because they were too expensive. I hope no one minds but I think I will copy my post from that other thread to save reinventing the wheel. The first para is what I wrote and the bit in bold is what they wrote:

    I have had a more detailed response on the question of whether it's better to buy organic or non-organic stuff if you can't get or grow stockfree. It is not from the Vegan Organic Network itself but from a horticultural consultant they work with. (ETA that in asking the question I had already made the point I personally thought that organic might be preferable because of the reduced use of pesticides, which obviously kill animals.)

    I don't think there is an answer but I agree with "I think I'd go for the organic" on principle. Some points for the argument: -
    • Slaughterhouse products contribute very little to the plant nutrient input of either organic or non-organic growers on a commercial scale. They are used to provide balanced slow-release nutrients in some growing media used in propagation. They tend to be too expensive to use on a large scale. They tend to be used more by gardeners.
    • Both organic and non-organic farmers use animal wastes (manures) for soil fertility building and grazing as a techniques for managing swards and returning nutrients to the soil.
    • Organic growers are required to minimise the amount of nutrient brought in from other sources (it is not good farming to rob nutrient from one farm to support growing on another)
    • Stockfree organic growers will avoid the use of all animal based fertility (Slaughterhouse products and manures) and will seek to maintain fertility through the use of green manures. Many organic growers, even though not certified Stockfree, do not keep livestock and do not have access to farmyard manures. They too rely on green manures and home made composts (with some green wastes). Many non-organic growers don't use animal products either - they use artificial fertilizers instead.

    Two more points to consider.
    • It is probably more important that you can find locally grown food both to reduce food-miles and to support local growers.
    • And you will note I will not use the term "conventional" to refer to non-organic farmers. It implies that organic is not conventional. My argument is that we were organic before farmers used fertilizers and pesticides!

  15. #115
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    BTW stating the obvious here but vegan-organic gardeners grow veg without the use of animal products, as well.

  16. #116
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Quote harpy View Post
    It is not from the Vegan Organic Network itself but from a horticultural consultant they work with.
    Presumably in order to be "working with" them they must have an interest in the subject and therefore aren't likely to be a neutral source.

  17. #117
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    They are certainly pro-stock-free-organic but I'm not sure if they (collectively) have as much of a pro-organic-in-general bias as ISTR they were a bit non-committal when I first asked the question. Fair point though.

    Is there a stock-free non-organic association I wonder? If so we could ask them as well to get a balance

  18. #118
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    I've fired off a load of emails to companies that do organic veg box schemes, hopefully they'll be able to shed some light on it.

  19. #119
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Asking them about what fertilisers their growers use? That might be interesting, if they know.

    I scoured the Defra website a while ago but couldn't find anything about who uses what fertilisers etc. You'd think they'd have something about it.

  20. #120
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Yeah, a couple of them are both the growers and suppliers. They all seem to be very transparent about their products and happy to answer questions so hopefully I'll get at least one response.

  21. #121
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    More Evidence Linking Pesticides and Malformations


    Additional studies suggest that common pesticides may be endocrine disruptors, bad news that nonetheless warms the heart of one citizen scientist.
    By Joan Melcher

    Concern about toxic chemicals in the environment has erupted into the mainstream media again, with new reports tying pesticides to disruption of male hormones, birth defects and cancer.
    Andres Carrasco, head of the molecular Embryology Lab at the University of Buenos Aires and chief scientist at the National Council for Science and Technology, linked glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup, to escalating rates of animal birth defects — including cyclopia, where a single eye is present in the center of the forehead), infertility, stillbirths, miscarriages and cancers — in agricultural areas of the country. The result “opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring” exposed to the chemical in the same areas, he wrote.

    Following up on Carrasco’s work, The Ecologist, a British environmental magazine, published a grisly account of the effects of glyphosate liberally sprayed on genetically modified soy crops in Argentina. The story told how Carrasco was assaulted by a mob when he arrived at a rural town where he was to present his findings.

    Carrasco was quoted in an interview on GMWatch.org: “I didn’t discover anything new. I just confirmed what other scientists discovered. In spite of the evidence, they still tried to run down 30 years of my reputation as a scientist. …. They know they can’t cover up the sun with one hand. There is scientific proof and, above all, there are hundreds of affected towns [that] are a living evidence of this public health emergency.”

    In February, Scientific American covered a study by scientists from University of London’s Centre for Toxicology that found 30 of 37 widely used pesticides tested blocked or mimicked male hormones. Most of the newly discovered hormone disruptors are fungicides that are applied to fruit and vegetable crops.
    A recent study by researchers at the University of Granada showed exposure to the pesticides known as organochlorides significantly altered semen quality in young men in southeast Spain.
    These findings resonate with citizen scientist Judy Hoy, a Montana wildlife rehabilitator who, after years of collecting roadkill, noticed a pronounced uptick in malformations like underbite or deformed testicles, deformities that make it harder for the animals to eat and to reproduce, reducing their numbers.
    Pointing to abnormalities in white-tailed deer, she believes endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, possibly blowing over from potato farms in neighboring Idaho, are affecting wildlife populations. As Miller-McCune reported in the fall of 2009, her observations and theories on ungulates in the Bitterroot Valley and about the fungicide chlorothalonil (an organochloride) and its effects were met with skepticism from the state’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists.

    There has been little scientific study of the fungicide until recently, although a study released ahead of print by Environmental Health Perspectives shows exposure to chlorothalonil at levels common to which humans are exposed resulted in mortality for several species of frogs in Florida.
    As far as the migration of chemicals, Hoy points to a recent Miller-McCune story on a series of reports by the National Park Service that documented airborne pollutants tending to accumulate in alpine and polar areas.

    The roadkill story (and others) reported on several scientific studies tying EDCs to birth defects in males of several species. A second story drew on the emerging field of epigenetics as a possible explanation of how deformities related to chemical exposure could be passed through generations.
    Under the Food Quality Protection Act, passed in 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been tasked with screening and testing pesticide chemicals for possible endocrine disruption; the EPA has identified 200 chemicals for screening, but the process is still in the early stages.
    Legislators in several U.S. states are drafting bills to ban various purported EDCs and are calling for reform of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. The states, according to the advocacy coalition Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, are particularly focused on banning bisphenol A from baby bottles, infant formula packaging and receipt paper.

    Recent declines in both white-tailed deer and elk lent some credence to Hoy’s suppositions, although another possible culprit has been identified: resurgent gray wolves.
    Hunters and sportsmen throughout the American West are increasingly agitated about growing populations of the wolf, protected under the Endangered Species Act, and the number of deer and elk the wolves eat.

    Precipitous drops in elk numbers in the West Fork of the Bitterroot Valley (more than 50 percent since 2005) has drawn the attention of the FWP, which recently started a three-year study of 44 cow elk fitted with radio collars.

    The study, supported by several sportsmen’s groups, will monitor the health of the elk, possible diseases, their movement patterns, pregnancy and body condition, and attacks by black bears, mountain lions and wolves. It won’t, however, consider underbite.

    Kelly Proffitt, FWP biologist and project leader, said she couldn’t comment on Hoy’s suggestion to consider hormone- or thyroid-related causes. “It’s not been an objective that we’ve defined at this point.”

    Meanwhile, Hoy is preparing a paper for publication and has found a collaborator of sorts in a 14-year-old whose involvement grew out of a school project.
    Samantha Crofts read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring before enrolling in Brett Taylor’s freshman science class at Missoula’s Sentinel High School. Taylor requires all students develop a research project suitable for presentation at a science fair. He knew something of Hoy’s research and suggested Crofts visit Hoy at her rehabilitation center.
    After talking with Hoy, Crofts decided to research the incidence of underbite on domestic goats — in the Bitterroot Valley. She has visually observed 43 goats and has found 60 to 70 percent of them have the condition known as brachygynathia, similar to Hoy’s recent findings when observing Bitterroot fawns. (“Goats aren’t my favorite animal,” Crofts admitted. “I’m scared of them, to tell you the truth.”)

    Crofts plans to continue the study by determining the probability that genetics is behind the malformations; her control will be drawn from two baseline studies with a population of 39,000 animals.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  22. #122
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Quote Risker View Post
    I've fired off a load of emails to companies that do organic veg box schemes, hopefully they'll be able to shed some light on it.
    I got a couple of responses...

    Quote Box Fresh Organics
    Many thanks for your enquiry. I have checked with the lady who runs our wholesale department as she is the one who speaks to our growers the most. She reckons that they would use a lot of seaweed and other plant based fertilisers (particularly to combat boron deficiencies in the soil). They would also use manure from organic cattle and chickens depending on the crops.
    Quote Riverford
    Thank you for your e-mail.

    The main underlying fertility comes from being in a rotation that includes grass/clover leys. We also use ‘green manures’ which add organic matter to the soil, fix nitrogen and/or lift nitrogen and prevent it from being leached. Green manures that we use include Vetch, Grazing Rye, Crimson clover, Cocksfoot etc.

    The vegetables get an application of Farm Yard Manure (mostly cattle) at 15 tonnes/acre. Sometimes we use greenwaste compost which is an excellent source of organic matter plus a good source of potash and phosphorus.
    For major deficiencies of P and K we are allowed to use Rock Potash and Rock Phosphate.
    Early season we use a fertilizer called Laws high N which helps to deliver much needed nitrogen at a time of year when natural soil levels are low. This is made from plant products including waste sugar beet.
    Some crops like onions receive applications of liquid seaweed which are a great tonic and help to enhance leaf health and provide better resistance to mildew.
    So, not quite veganic but not bad, seems to be mostly plant based fertilisers and manure, at least it's not blood/fish/bone.

    I'm still expecting a couple of replies, will post when (if) I get them.

    Would be good to get some info from non-organic farmers but I can't think how to go about that.

  23. #123
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

  24. #124
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    I'm confused on what to buy - organic or non-organic? Organic might use manure (or worse) but non-organic use harmful chemicals. The obvious answer is vegan organic but I can't find any in Australia.

    How would I go about finding out if the organic vegetables in my local store are grown without animal manure? I asked where they get their produce and they said the local markets so I don't know how I'll find out.

  25. #125

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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    I don't have any stock free organic veg box schemes nearby so I just get a organic veg box. I prefer to get organic because it's better for the environment (so better for animals) usually less food miles, no GM. no chemicals going into the food that you are eating, fairer prices for the farmers - although you might find a non organic box scheme that gives farmers a fair price.

    Even if you buy a non organic product that doesn't use manure you could still find that the farmer raises animals for meat as well as crops so it's pretty impossible to avoid any animal exploitation. It's the age old vegan conundrum.

  26. #126
    airalien
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Yeah I can't believe how naive I was. I used to think you could be free of animal exploitation but it's everywhere.

  27. #127
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Quote airalien View Post
    I'm confused on what to buy - organic or non-organic? Organic might use manure (or worse) but non-organic use harmful chemicals. The obvious answer is vegan organic but I can't find any in Australia.

    How would I go about finding out if the organic vegetables in my local store are grown without animal manure? I asked where they get their produce and they said the local markets so I don't know how I'll find out.
    Having read a few of your posts you seem to worry a terrible amount about what you put in to your body. Please try not to overthink these things, stay vegan but make sure you don't burn yourself out or make yourself ill by worrying about every little thing.

    Quote Mymblesdaughter View Post
    I prefer to get organic because it's better for the environment (so better for animals)
    Not necessarily true, organic approved chemicals are less effective and therefore much more of them are often needed.

    Quote Mymblesdaughter View Post
    no chemicals going into the food that you are eating
    Not true, as above, chemicals are used on organic foods, and like I say, much more are often needed.

    Quote Mymblesdaughter View Post
    fairer prices for the farmers - although you might find a non organic box scheme that gives farmers a fair price.
    Never heard that one before, do you have a source for this info?
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  28. #128
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    Please don't get discouraged, airalien - you can make a big difference just by being vegan.

    Maybe you can investigate whether anyone is doing vegan gardening or horticulture where you are, and see if you can get involved? I seem to remember that permaculture (which was invented in Australia I believe) is sometimes done in a vegan way, although not always. There is some discussion here although the person didn't seem to get a very good reception from some of the other members http://forums.permaculture.org.au/sh...ure-for-vegans

    ETA Risker, I think the box schemes tend to result in fairer prices for farmers because of the way they are run (i.e. without supermarkets taking a large cut of the proceeds - and some of the box schemes are run by farmers' co-ops etc). I don't think buying organic stuff in supermarkets necessarily does, although Mymblesdaughter may well know something I don't

  29. #129
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    ^ Makes sense. Not fairer prices for the customer though!
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  30. #130
    airalien
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    It's a big problem of mine where I worry what I buy/use/eat. Obviously I am not worth any more than other living things so why should I buy and use things that trace back to animal cruelty? I am only just realising you can't escape it. I use to think you couldn't get anything more pure than a vegetable; but even in the production of fruit/veggies there is exploitation of animals.

    Don't worry I would never get discouraged about being vegan - I basically define myself by it. Realising the limits is so painful but that definitely does not mean I would ever give up being a vegan; it just means I'll have a tough time resting. Humans have put animal cruelty EVERYWHERE but I guess at least we're on the path to stop it. We are on a quest.

  31. #131
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 reasons to go organic (or not?)

    We are on a quest.
    That's a good way to look at it

  32. #132
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    Default Organic versus non-organic

    I try to get fruit and veg from farmer's markets or organic farms (my family help because they often shop at these and get me stuff as well) but I can't always do this. I am getting scared that if I buy non-organic apples/carrots, I may as well not bother eating them! Does non-organic fruit and veg have any goodness in, at all?!
    Apologies if this is a duplicate thread.
    Last edited by Korn; Jun 27th, 2012 at 03:14 PM. Reason: This was the first post in a similar thread
    The greatest mistake is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

  33. #133
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic versus non-organic

    Paging Risker who will tell you why non-organic is just as good.

    I do buy organic stuff when I can, but mainly because I think it's better (on the whole) for the environment. I think eating non-organic stuff is well worthwhile especially if you haven't got any organic stuff! I'm not convinced there's much/any difference in the nutritional value if they have been treated the same way in the (ahem) supply chain.

    There are quite a few threads about the pros and cons of organic if you use the search box or google "veganforum organic". Can't find one that sums up the whole debate though.

  34. #134
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic versus non-organic

    Quote harpy View Post
    Paging Risker
    Heh.

    Why do you expect certified organic foods to have more nutrients in them (which is what I assume you mean by goodness)? Or more importantly, why do you think that foods that haven't been okayed by an organic certification board would not have nutrients in them?

    EDIT: Actually, I promised myself not to get in to long discussions about these things so I'll just post a quote from the Food Standards Agency.

    Consumers may choose to buy organic fruit, vegetables and meat because they believe them to be more nutritious than other food. However, the balance of current scientific evidence does not support this view.
    http://www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/...d/organicfood/
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  35. #135
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic versus non-organic

    Quote Festered View Post
    Apologies if this is a duplicate thread.
    Hi,
    we had a couple of threads about organic vs. non-organic already, but I've merged them now. Luckily non-organic plants have 'goodies' in them as well... 'luckily', because most people eat mainly non-organic food nowadays (unlike what human ancestors have been doing for ten thousands of years, when only organic food was available).

    Since the threads are now merged, you may find studies comparing organic vs non-organic food if you look at this and the previous pages.

    We also have this thread:
    http://www.veganforum.com/forums/sho...f-in-your-life
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  36. #136
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    .
    Last edited by Risker; Jun 27th, 2012 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Must not get involved
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  37. #137
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    Risker, it's not 'all organic' according to the common use of the term 'organic food':

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food
    Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.[1]

    http://www.organic.org/home/faq#faq1
    Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

    The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows:
    Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  38. #138
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    Sorry, I'll go back to eating my synthetic cucumber.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  39. #139
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    One of the problems caused by commercial agriculture is monoculture. It partially explains the existence of disease and large-scale insect infestation - just like overcrowding of people partially explains the existence of disease and insect infestation. If you have an ecosystem instead of monoculture, you will need less pesticides, and less outside sources of nutrients (the word fertilizer is a horrid misnomer which supports continued ignorance of the nature of plant growth). But do organic growers have an ecosystem in stead of monoculture? Occasionally. But 99 percent of the commercially grown "organic produce" is the result of - monoculture. Organic has become a marketing tactic, branding method of marketing - with only a vague relation to actual differences. Yes, there are better and worser ways of cultivating food plants, so that plants are more nutritious and less toxic, and so that farms have less damaging impact on the environement, but overwhelmingly, what is actually happening, is organic farmers are adhering to a set of certifications designed more for its marketing use, than for actual improved cultivation methods. Ever since government and regulating bodies have gotten into certifying food organics, the opposite of what we wanted to happen, is what happened. The certifications were tweaked for marketing and profitability, not for improved food value and improved ecology.

    Some examples: organic growers may use natural nicotine, made from tobacco - which is far more harmful to humans than synthetic pyrethrin. Farmers can not be certified organic if they use synthetic pyrethrin but they can be certified organic if they use natural pyrethrin - even if the pyrethrin is identical, indistinguishable by chemical tests. What you can do and cannot do is based on faith, belief, authoritative announcement, rather than based on verifiable, reproducable emperical evidence.

    Again, there are ways of growing that are better. And maybe in the past many natural growers had a better product, but today, organic certification is marketing tool, branding - not a scientific system for more nutrious and less ecologially damaging agriculture.

    The keys to better food are mixed crops with ecological balance (very hard to do mass-production style), good soil tilth maintained with green and brown plant material, that is, fresh green, non-woody, fast decomposing plant matter, and plant material from deep-rooted plants (Ie, fall tree leaves). Cover crops, green manures (not poop manures). Scienfitic investigation into the relative harm of various pesticides, rather than faith-assumptions of the relative harm, based on whether their source was a natural living thing that was minimally processed or it was derived chemically from something else in a complex manner.

    Poison ivy fibers are natural and organic. Rayon fibers are a synthetic fiber, are not natual, and not organic. If you'd rather wear clothing woven from poison ivy fibers than clothing woven from rayon fibers because the poison ivy is organic and the rayon is synthetic - good luck to you.
    Soil to soil.

  40. #140
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    Excerpt from a longer article titled 'Organic isn't vegan'

    Veganism Trumps Organicism
    Vegans may mean well when they buy organic products, but this dubious designation should be better scrutinized to discover how it undermines and cashes in on the vegan cause. What’s needed are rational decisions and sound scientific policy, not mythical “natural” appeals of faith-based agriculture such as organic. There is nothing organic can do that modern agriculture can’t yet there is a whole lot organic limits itself from. The “conventional” vs organic divide is a false dichotomy and causes unnecessary confusion, harm, and stunts progress for the movement. If veganism is a credible and noble way to live why is there this organic label slapped on most of the vegan products? Why are vegans being unfairly burdened with this tax? How is that helping the animals for which the cause is supposedly focused upon? Vegans are being suckered and their pockets being picked by BigOrganic Agribusiness. Ditch those archaic organic products already and support safe, innovative, and accessible food products for all.
    http://pythagoreancrank.com/?p=3134
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  41. #141

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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    I haven't read all through the article but just having a quick look. It says that antibiotics aren't used.
    While vegans avoid animal products altogether, they also care about welfare issues and wish to reduce animals’ suffering. For organic farms though, antibiotics that provide relief for sick animals are not allowed. Instead, health practices for animals in their care rely in part upon quack homeopathic remedies. It’s one thing to make a personal choice to employ such remedies upon yourself, but to impose that upon another creature without regard to proven scientific efficacy is a despicable practice no vegan should stand behind. Withholding modern medical treatments from animals within organic’s care is worse than the unnatural bogeyman. It’s cruel and unjust, it’s not vegan.
    This isn't true, the routine use of antibiotics isn't allowed but animals can be treated if ill. http://www.soilassociation.org/whati...ls/antibiotics Once I read something like that I can't really believe any of the other points.

  42. #142
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    The author links to this article that explains that statement.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  43. #143

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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    As far as I understand American organic standards and European are different. I presume the original article is talking about American standards?

  44. #144
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    Not sure but there's a couple of words with 'z' rather than 's' so probably American yeah.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  45. #145
    100% sure – I'm going vegan! nathanjh13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    Surely the easiest way to farm organically but pest free is indoor hydroponics?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnRpv4rlClg

    Keep insects out, let sunlight in (I'd have a clear roof rather than the white one in the video etc).

    This looks far easier (ie cheaper?) to tend to than even a conventional farm.

    It's an eyesore I know, but clearer panelling would help.

    I suppose hydroponics are easy to do at home too, in NY the Windowfarm movement kicked off etc (which works in one bedroom flats). Safest bet as always is to grow your own of course (from organic seeds).

    I made a bottle garden (this isn't mine):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9vN2eudWcQ

    Home hydroponics:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj4MzjxjGck

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJjAWF2DfWYd

    The organic stuff I buy from supermarkets seems to last a lot longer than it's farmers market equivalent. I don't trust them as far as I could throw them. If they can peddle horsemeat as beef etc etc.

  46. #146

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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    It looks like a good system the only problem I can see is it's not very pretty. Knowing how people are against wind turbines in the UK I can't see them going for this. Although they seem to put up with massive buildings for intensive farmed meat. Maybe if there were more trees and plants around the area it wouldn't look so barren.

    One of the things I've also noticed about organic farming having worked with a few farmers over the last few years. Is that the organic farmers are so different to the non organic. They seem much more ethical and they are enthusiastic. Two of the organic farmers we get food from for the cafe are vegetarians. They have a completely different attitude to farming not like the usual passed down from father to son type of farming that seems to be very typical where I lived in Cornwall.

  47. #147

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    Default Re: organic vs non-organic

    Eat Organic be organic is the slogan of health diet. The demand of organic foods is gradually increasing day by day as these are always good for health. Farming sectors now like to cultivate more organic food to balance this demand. We also can do it in our garden by using organic plant foods. It is quite easy.

  48. #148

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    Default Re: Organic – or not?

    An appreciable concept as well as true statements regarding organic. Most of us know the need and importance of organic food. It is free from pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. Not only for children but also all human being without any age require organic food for good health or a disease free life. Thanks for this useful concept. I support organic. Eat organic, be organic. Organic food is the only solution- http://gsplantfoods7.blogspot.in/201...n-in-this.html

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