Monday, September 5, 2011

Organic Versus Reality

by Rich Kozlovich

For many years I have been saying that I don’t personally care if someone wants to ‘go green’ or eat only 'organic' foods or lead ‘all natural’ lives or not. Those are decisions every person should be allowed to make on their own. I do have a serious distaste for those who have gone that direction and then insist that everyone else have to live that way also. I resent it when they spout idiotic rhetoric about how organic farming produces as much food as modern farming techniques produces and that these foods are better for you and tastes better to boot. All of this is not only non-scientific it is mysticism with a sprinkling of science to give it credibility.

I absolutely knew from very early on that this was all demagogic lies and I didn’t need studies to tell me so. How? Mondern concepts of "organic" has failed he test of history. Everything we are told should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality. I grew up on a small farm and I have always had gardens whenever I could. On our farm my grandfather utilized everything. We had milk cows, pigs, chickens and the end result to having all of those animals is …..manure! Now that is good stuff, and we used it. However manure as a fertilizer has some serious health problems that must be accepted as factual. We know that there is a very real risk of contamination by dangerous E. coli, salmonella and citrobacter bacteria; which is one of the reasons they used to cook vegetables to death in the old days.

Furthermore,The energy needed to grow organic tomatoes is 1.9 times that of conventional methods”……Organic milk requires 80 per cent more land to produce than conventional milk and creates 20 per cent more carbon dioxide, it says. The use of manure to fertilise land can lead to acidification of soil and the pollution of water courses. Organic chickens require 25 per cent more energy to rear and produce more carbon dioxide than conventional battery or barn hens”, according to the Manchester Business School in a study for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in England.

Just because my grandfather utilized ‘organic’ methods, didn’t mean that he eschewed modern agriculture. He also used synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This was a man who grew up in Eastern Europe utilizing organic methods. Why? Because that was all that was available! He didn’t abandon what was worth keeping; but it didn’t mean that he was unwilling to enhance his farming practices and his productivity with modern techniques and chemistry.

There are a number of things that I have observed about all of this in my life. First, I have tried all the things they talk about. I have for many years maintained a total mulch garden. It does wonders for my vegetables, helps keep down pests and provides nutrients to the plants and keeps the soil cooler in the really hot days of summer. However, I still have needed to use pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. I tried going without synthetic fertilizers, but I have only gotten the best results when I used fertilizers. High yield production requires high levels of nutrients (balanced nutrition) that cannot be provided by “natural” means alone.

When I read about these poor foolish people who insist on buying “organic” because it “tastes so much better”, I just can’t help but laugh and shake my head. Taste is affected by four things; adequate nutrition, adequate water, maturity and variety! Some varieties of vegetables simply taste better than other varieties. And make no mistake about this; ripe tastes better than not so ripe…..Duh! Organic doesn’t have a thing to do with it. In any blind taste tests they would not be able to tell the difference, except that those vegetables grown with modern techniques might taste better because they are grown in better conditions with more nutrients, which look better and have less blemishes.   And as for healthier because they don’t use pesticides; that is an absolute fallacy! They use a lot of pesticides such as sulfur, copper, pyrethrum and rotenone.

There are three things we can glean from reality versus ideology regarding ‘organic’ farming. One, ‘organic’ farming has been practiced for thousands of years. Two; if it was so great why did anyone look to improve it? Three, why did farmers who had no option except ‘organic’ farming abandon it as soon as modern techniques became available?

The greenies claim that ‘organically’ grown foods are healthier for us and are kinder to the environment. Those are the two big selling points. Both are false. In an article entitled, “Intensive farming is found to be better than organic methods for protecting the environment” by Mark Henderson he states that; "ORGANIC farming can be less effective at protecting wildlife than intensive methods, according to research that undermines its claim to be the most environmentally friendly form of agriculture. Farming systems such as organic that seek to share land between crops and wildlife inflict greater damage on biodiversity than conventional approaches that maximise crop yields, a major study has revealed. Such "land-sharing" methods typically deliver lower yields than intensive farming and they require much more land to produce the same amount of food."

If more land is needed to produce that same amount of food that modern techniques can produce this means that more wilderness areas must be destroyed. How is this friendly to wildlife? He goes on to say that; “The research, conducted in Ghana and India, found that most species of birds and trees, common or rare, would have higher populations if farms were kept as small as possible and managed to produce maximum yields.”

This demand for ‘organic’ farming practices and the demand for ‘biodiversity enhancement’ practices is in reality cognitive dissonance. He quotes Ben Phalan, the man who led a Ghanaian study on this issue saying; “frequently what we see is lower yields, and benefits for wildlife that are not that great". Phalan went on to say that; "It sells the message that you can do both conservation and food production together, that they can co-exist. But our research would suggest that this is probably optimistic and might be wishful thinking”. The final result of the world returning to 'organic' farming practices would be worldwide famine. Many tens of milliions would starve to death and hundreds of millions would be undernourished.

The final argument they rely on is almost mystical. Just believe! Articles of faith that people want to believe in can't be overcome. Whether its 'Going Green', or 'All Organic', or 'All Natural'; it is little more than psudeo-paganism. The ancient Druids would be very comfortable with the modern environmental movement. They too worshiped nature and were willing to practice human sacrifice.

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