SHOP PRODUCTS
Houzz Logo Print
themastergardener1

Organic food is better?

11 years ago

Comments (150)

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In fact to reach the upper limit of nutrition-per-unit of growing space requires large inputs of informed labor as well as adequate minerals and moisture. Labor is potentially unlimited, due to the "over population". The minerals can be cracked from rocks - by slaves or drudges, if required - excepting N which can be fixed by plants sufficiently without using the Haber process, given adequate labor input to manage the intensive rotations.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't think that the science is always at fault, but rather what we do with it. The science of agriculture has led to mega farm systems of field crops and animal husbandry. While some aspects of these have seen some improvements, there just isn't enough time at rush seasons to do things in the fields like I am able to do them in my gardens where I have enough leisure time these days.

  • Related Discussions

    Whole Foods Market 'Organic' food made in China

    Q

    Comments (5)
    Well let me tell you about China, since I just returned from living there for 2 years. Our dog food is 1,000% better then the crap you get there. After eating there for 2 years, I have about $10,000 worth of damage to my teeth because of 3 cracked teeth and 1 tooth which came out. The Chinese do not use a band saw to cut their meat but instead use a meat cleaver which leaves bone fragments in the meat. When you bite into the meat, which is in every dish you get, you will crack your teeth when you hit one of the bone fragments. Those pictures of an animal being cut up, is right next to the veggies and there are flies all over going from the bloody meat to the raw veggies which you will be eating tonight. I had to return back to the US after 2 years because my gastrointestinal tract finally gave out from eating their unsanitary food and I needed to seek medical attention. I went from 210 pounds 6'2" to 155 in a few months. There is ZERO quality control over their package goods. Eating something out of a box was like eating "Cracker Jacks" because you never know what the surprise inside is going to be. The Chinese never complain and just accept it, because there is no one to complain too. Their veggies are grown on the worse polluted soil I have ever seen. It is like eating raw veggies grown on top of fresh raw sewage. Anything that comes from China, stay away from at all cost!
    ...See More

    Organic is more nutritious - article

    Q

    Comments (20)
    I researched that claim a bit a couple years ago, Frank. I don't recall all the details, but concluded the claim was somewhat accurate, but also somewhat meaningless. Part of the equation is different plant varieties. Most of what the big farms grow are hybrids and these hybrids were not bred with nutritional content in mind, but rather shipping/storage/uniformity type qualities. So, nutritional content has decreased *in some cases* from this. Other issues are produce that is harvested before fully ripe. This doesn't allow the full development and thus not the full nutrient value. There were other reasons why this is sometimes the case, but in no case is it due to the soil or the method of growth (conventional vs organic). Plants just don't work that way. If the plant doesn't have what it needs to grow well, then it doesn't ;) AFAIK, things like how ripe the produce is at harvest, how long it takes to get to market, how processed it is, and variety all play a much more significant role in nutritional content in produce than does the farming method.
    ...See More

    Organic Better?

    Q

    Comments (58)
    Novascapes, "If you don't think organic fertilizer can be a problem you need to read this" Just like someone said above, some orgainc farmers do more harm than in-orgainic, thats if the organic farmer doesn't know what they are doing. Let me put it to you this way, why is the bee population drooping? I'll give you a hint organic farmers did NOT do it. I have alot of synthetic fertilizers stored as they never go bad and I always find a use for them. Even slow release in-organic fertilizer wont hurt microbes but wont help the soil. I agree with in-organic farming even in ground as synthetic fertilizers are easier to ship, store, ect....
    ...See More

    another reason organic is better

    Q

    Comments (23)
    Posted by anthony_toronto (My Page) on Fri, Jul 6, 07 at 0:47 I remember seeing a CNN news story some years back about a study on organic vs. non-organic fruits and vegetables. I know they were not looking for differences in flavanoids, but they were looking at taste, and whether non-organic fruits and veggies retained any traces of pesticides or other non-organic compounds. The results of that study were that there were no differences between organic vs. non-organic in terms of either taste or in residual pesticides, etc. So, non-organic fruits and veggies were not found to be less healthy than organic fruits and veggies. HOWEVER, the study did find that, because of typical organic gardening techniques, the organic fruits and vegetables had a far higher concentration of e-coli bacteria from fecal matter used as fertilizer. The study determined that eating organic fruits and vegetables was far more dangerous that eating non-organic fruits and vegetable. I have always been less concerned about the effects of the using the blue stuff (which I'm sorry really does not seem materially different in any way as an effective fertilizer) than I have been with growing my tomatoes in feces. Oh well, maybe e-coli is not a problematic substance to consume. That was a John Stossel report on ABC, and they rescinded some of their statements (one or two, as I recall), as well as the conclusion that was drawn that non-organically grown produce was healthier than organically grown.
    ...See More
  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sorry for the repeat post...all it took was a click hours later for a reload.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When there is a mild winter and plenty of food the deer have twins. Do you think it is possible that we have created our own population explosion by forcing the soil to produce more than it would naturally? For every action there is a equal and opposite reaction

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "When there is a mild winter and plenty of food the deer have twins. Do you think it is possible that we have created our own population explosion by forcing the soil to produce more than it would naturally? For every action there is a equal and opposite reaction"

    Personally, I think population run a muck is do to belief, religion and or the suppressed. People in starving countries have children.

    Trying to pump more from the earth is result of high population.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Trying to pump more from the earth is result of high population. "

    Thank you very much. So all of those that think they are helping the enviroment by eating organic your really doing more harm then someone that eats conventional food.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What happens when the mined phosphate and urea/nitrates and other 'inorganic' inputs become either so scarce or so expensive that they are out of the reach of anything but massive industrial farms?

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    At that point it would be cheaper to farm 'organic'. So we would then farm more then half the earths surface. We would destroy almost all wetlands,grass lands, ect, for organic fertilizers and land to farm organic. Is that what you were hoping to hear?

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    sounds like some gaia philosophy in some of these words, exhault the rich and blame the poor, how does the song go?

    "It's the same the whole world over It's the poor what gets the blame It's the rich what gets the pleasure Ain't it all a bloomin' shame?"

    that song was sung back in about 1933 in england.

    sorry to say that we don't need factory/broadacre farms, and neither did we ask for them to happen along and decimate our habitats, changing our climates, that all occur through science convincing farmer to go for a bigger bottom line, but farmers still didn't win the middle men upward did, the wealthier lots.

    our gardens with no chemicals or fertilisers do just as well as someone who used chemical applications, we grow in season and locality suitable plants, we don't try and grow things meant for other climes.

    without and science mumbo jumbo we all would do much better and get healthier if our farmers lived near us so we could all but walk to the farm and get super fresh in season staple produce, like it was here in the 40's and 50's we had simple modest homes, and could afford to live.

    there are communities set up this way, imagine say you pay $5 a kilo for beans at the ripoffmarket, if we cut out distance and the rip off middle men we would be happy to pay the farmer that full $5 per kilo, he would live well getting 1/2 that, then he becomes our neighbour, and we wouldn't need rip off regulation to keep him honest. called for by people who judged by their own merits.

    they are raping our habitat for their own paltry gains.

    think about it, our spray-less chemical free garden is thriving and for the size of it almost over producing we are currently giving heaps away, from 18 sq/mts of growing area.

    stop blaming the struggling poor for the pleasures of the rich.

    blessing from len

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    [quote]sorry to say that we don't need factory/broadacre farms, and neither did we ask for them to happen along and decimate our habitats, changing our climates, that all occur through science convincing farmer to go for a bigger bottom line, but farmers still didn't win the middle men upward did, the wealthier lots.[/quote]
    That's what we call Corporate Greed. Money influence. Feed the shareholders not the people.

    [quote]there are communities set up this way, imagine say you pay $5 a kilo for beans at the ripoffmarket, if we cut out distance and the rip off middle men we would be happy to pay the farmer that full $5 per kilo, he would live well getting 1/2 that, then he becomes our neighbour, and we wouldn't need rip off regulation to keep him honest. called for by people who judged by their own merits[/quote]

    Buy local. We have many CSA's and a member owned Co-op. I even sell directly to local restaurants. Cut out the middleman.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would say blame both the rich and the poor...when they are to blame...and often are.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Buy local. We have many CSA's and a member owned Co-op. I even sell directly to local restaurants. Cut out the middleman. "
    Local produce pollutes more. There is a great show that explains why local grown produce is worse on the enviroment. Just watch:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg747U4zbls

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I spent a career in fish farming where there is a similar push to intensify the process, increase production/unit area, use artificial inputs, all the while trying to produce more and more per unit area, hoping that the profit will increase as does production. There are a lot of parallels with traditional vs industrial agriculture.

    I found that there is a point - reached fairly soon - where increasing inputs in the expectation of increased production and subsequent profit don't work out as well as planned. Basically because some new limiting factor pops up. So to shift this over to agriculture, probably the first limiting factor is nitrogen. So add nitrogen fertilizer. Then its phosphate, potassium, trace minerals. All those are added. then suddenly all kinds of bugs show up in the monoculture - need pesticides. Then irrigation. Then a bigger tractor, harvesting equipment. Then so much capital is invested that you need insurance, or one bad storm and you're bankrupt. The costs and inputs go up and up, so does production, but the profit may not follow - particularly now when whatever is being produced is sold on world commodity markets with speculation, forward contracts, and so on.

    So most societies have all kinds of subsidies going on - it may be tax-free diesel to run your tractors, export market guarantees, guaranteed bottom price, dirt cheap property taxes on your farm, subsidized loans. Then the fertilizers and other inputs are subsidized as well, lobbied as an essential part of the farming economy. And none of this addresses the environmental costs of your culture. The pollution is somebody else's problem - for a while.

    So the question: 'which is better' - a more less-intensive, diversified, resilient, nutrient recycling sort of agriculture base, ak 'organic' - vs some high risk, insured, capital intensive highly productive-per-unit monoculture that requires several million dollars worth of capital to practice. Depends who you ask and what factors enter the equation.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dave, well-explicated.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    One of the factors that enters the equation is the world market. That world market has vastly changed things like clothing manufacture and just about any other manufacture.

    I remember the early '80s when we started getting in some Japanese products where I worked. I was given a hearing with the division manager about it and he set me straight how it was a global thing now. Perhaps sadly, he was right.

    Same thing today holds for most food production. Yes, there are markets more sensitive to ecos, but brother, it is hard work....and we don't like hard work anymore...vis the past election.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yea well said!

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think there's a hidden agenda. TMG keeps pushing us to look at videos. The speaker on these videos, makes a living speaking, selling books / magazines and possibly stealing. He has been charged with several counts of wire fraud. Penn and Teller well....?
    I'd like see better sources to back up your statements TMG.

    Eric

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Eric,

    Yes I do. There are 2 points here so which one would you like to hear about?

    1. Organic farming is no better for the enviroment, in fact, it is worse on a large scale compared to conventional methods.

    2. Plants cant tell whether the nutrients they uptake are sourced from organic or not, as they are all just elements.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You stated:

    "I'd like see better sources to back up your statements TMG."

    That is whay I said: "Yes I do."

    I mean I have posted some very great sources like Ag Scientists.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Master Gardener, I know you had a conversation with an Ag scientist a while back about N absorption, but it seems that most of your quotes in this thread come from either Brian Dunning or the book by Alex Avery.

    Please do note that Dunning is making his living as a professional skeptic (and possibly through fraudulent means -- he is fighting his case on the basis of legal loopholes rather than any claimed innocence) and is not a scientist.

    Avery is as much in the pockets of the pesticide producers as anyone could be. The Hudson Institute, the think-tank where he is employed, is funded by the following companies: Monsanto, Dow Elanco, Ag-Chem Equipment Co, ConAgra, Cargill, DuPont, Sandoz, and Ciba-Geigy

    Avery's book was not published by a main stream publisher, in which case it would have been vetted by the editorial department fact-checkers. It was produced by Henderson Communications, an agribusiness consulting group.

    Oh, and Alex is the son of Dennis Avery, who also works at the Hudson Institute, and is perhaps best know for writing an article for the Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that the Centers for Disease Control had conducted studies showing that eating organic food carried an 8 fold risk of contracting E-coli poisoning over eating a conventional diet. Despite the fact that the CDC had NEVER conducted any research to that effect, his article was widely quoted. So, perhaps the younger Avery has learned that you can write, and publish, whatever you want, and it will be widely quoted, and it will take a while before anyone figures out that you were just plain lying.

    That "facts" you are quoting from Avery's book are fishy. All three of these guys are fishy. And dishonest. And working for a cause. And paid by special interests. That is certainly not the kind of "science" I would recommend anyone use as the basis for making their gardening decisions.

    My suggestion to you is to KEEP READING. Read some studies that the three guys above would hate -- you owe it to your brain to give it the opposing view point. And become your own scientist. Buy a brix meter and test organic and conventional foods and see what readings you get. Go back to organic methods in part of your own garden, and compare your results with the parts where your have turned conventional. Give it ten years. Compare your yields, insect and disease pressure, taste and brix readings.

    Or don't.
    But do consider your soures, and their motivations and character, before you let their "facts" change your behavior.

    Here is a link that might be useful: some reading suggestions

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Plants do not differentiate the nutrients they absorb resulting from hydroponic or organic nutrient solutions. For example, nitrogen is typically available as NO3- or NH4+. It does not matter to the plant whether it came from guano or bottled nutrient."

    Eric Biksa http://www.simplyhydro.com/do_organics_taste_better.htm

    "Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize Winning Ag Scientist, says, "The Truth About Organic Foods gives consumers a through and straight-forward explanation of why organic foods offer no real health or safety bebefits. More importantly, Avery communicates why organic farming's lower yields and reliance on scarce organic fertilizers represents a potential threat to the world's forests, wetlands and grasslands. The book offers scientifically sound evidence that more-affordable conventional foods are healthy for families and also good stewardship of nature."

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Truth-About-Organic-Foods/dp/0978895207

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Again,

    "My suggestion to you is to KEEP READING. Read some studies that the three guys above would hate -- you owe it to your brain to give it the opposing view point. And become your own scientist. Buy a brix meter and test organic and conventional foods and see what readings you get. Go back to organic methods in part of your own garden, and compare your results with the parts where your have turned conventional. Give it ten years. Compare your yields, insect and disease pressure, taste and brix readings."

    Trust me I have. I have grown organic thinking I needed to avoid chemicals until I understood the science. The organic hype is nothing more, just hype. I knew a long time ago organic farms produce way less, I did not know it was this big of a threat to the envirmoent because those that make money from the organic hype want to convert to organic farming that takes way more land and resources to produce food.

    The problem is with your brix meter is that hydroponic crops grown with 100% synthetic have shown WAY higher nutrition then plants grown organically in soil. The important nutrient- air that is always available in high amounts to the roots in hydroponics may allow the crop to have way higher nutrition. This oes back to the important micro and macronutrients that really result in yield or nutrition. With that said, there are studies that show organic crops have higher nutrition, followed by WAY more studies that show there is no difference. :) Funny. Crop nutrition is not based on organics lol. There is no 'voodoo' that organic do. There could be a healthier organic crop if a conventional crop is lacking Calcium. There could be a healthier synthetic crop if the organic crop lacked Calcium.

    "My suggestion to you is to KEEP READING. Read some studies that the three guys above would hate -- you owe it to your brain to give it the opposing view point. And become your own scientist."

    I hate to say this, but I already saw all the organic hype dipslayed in front of me, it makes me sick. It is a little funny some of the marketing techniques used in the huge organic industry. I suggest you keep reading lol :)


  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You have brix-tested or you haven't? Seems like the latter to me. If you had you would realize that conventional produce is severely de-mineralized. Thec are is being made that global ag is feeding the world, but in fact it is slowly killing the populations through various kinds of malnutrition.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat, If an organic soil lacked some good micro minerals like cobalt, yttrium, scandium, iodine, selenium, etc, I doubt that the plants could uptake those minerals.... granted that the soil synergy would try harder on organic soils.

    I assume that organic soils can be lacking too...so I moderately remineralized my gardens.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, I agree, Wayne. I don't mean to say that typical organic produce is well-mineralized. Generally it isn't, according to my brix testing, but it's consistently a little to a lot better than conventional.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Of course brix translates quickly into flavor, and you'd have to have totally fried taste buds to be unable to tell the difference between some organically grown variety of so many fruits and vegetables and those that haven't been.

    Of course, flavor varies considerably due to season and shelf-time and all that, but Lord, the difference in taste between an organic apple and one that isn't, the same variety, is staggering. Let alone squash, celery, berries, salad, and so on.

    A double blind taste test - you know, scientifically speaking? Try one. Have someone else buy organic and non-organic celery, apples, winter squash, etc, then remove the labels and give them numbers, then have a 3rd person who doesn't know which is which serve it up. Do it yourself, don't depend on somebody else's' experience.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I believe that a lot of the taste difference is due to being able to pick things at the peak of flavor...a lot more practical with home grown.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What you believe and what is science is two different things. Science is right.

    This is the science of what makes organics taste different.

    "However, what you taste is not what you fed your plants, but what your plants were able to do with what they were fed. Organic solutions can be more complex in terms of the array of substances and organisms they contain when compared to standard synthetic fertilizer solutions. As a result, the plants have more variety in their diet which they can utilize, possibly resulting in more complex tastes, etc. Now, that was one of the upsides of organics. One of the drawbacks of organic crop production vs. standard hydroponic fertilizer is that the majority of nutrients are not immediately available to the plant. This makes it very difficult to monitor and regulate concentration and ratios of elements available to the plant. If using premium hydroponic fertilizers, the vast majority of nutrients are immediately available in precise and measurable values. As a result, healthy vigorous plants can reach their genetic potential which includes characteristics such as taste and flavor. Plants do not differentiate the nutrients they absorb resulting from hydroponic or organic nutrient solutions. For example, nitrogen is typically available as NO3- or NH4+. It does not matter to the plant whether it came from guano or bottled nutrient. "

    http://www.simplyhydro.com/do_organics_taste_better.htm

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wayne,

    You are correct about ripe time and I do agree. It looked like I was disagreeing with you by my first sentance in my last post above.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Rodale Institute 30 years plus

    Over the 30 years of the trial, organic corn and soybean yields were equivalent to conventional yields in the tilled systems.
    Wheat yields were the same for organic and conventional systems. (Wheat was
    only added to the conventional system in 2004).
    Organic corn yields were 31% higher than conventional in years of drought. These drought yields are remarkable when compared to genetically engineered "drought tolerant" varieties which saw increases of only 6.7% to 13.3% over conventional (non-drought resistant) varieties.
    Corn and soybean crops in the organic systems tolerated much higher levels of weed competition than their conventional counterparts, while producing equivalent yields. This is especially significant given the rise of herbicide-resistant weeds in conventional systems, and speaks to the increased health and productivity of the organic soil (supporting both weeds and crop yields).

    Farmers who cultivated GM varieties earned less money over a 14-year period than those who continued to grow non-GM crops according to a study from the University of Minnesota.
    Traditional plant breeding and farming methods have increased yields of major grain crops three to four times more than GM varieties despite huge investments of public and private dollars in biotech research.
    There are 197 species of herbicide resistant weeds, many of which can be linked directly back to GM crops, and the list keeps growing.
    GM crops have led to an explosion in herbicide-use as resistant crops continue to emerge. In particular, the EPA approved a 20-fold increase in how much glyphosate (Roundup�) residue is allowed in our food in response to escalating concentrations.

    FEEDING THE WORLD
    Agribusinesses have long clung to the rallying cry of needing to increase yields in order to feed the world. However, feeding the world is not simply a matter of yields. The global food security community is shifting swiftly in support of an organic approach.

    "Organic agriculture has the potential to secure a global food supply, just as conventional agriculture is today, but with reduced environmental impact." This is according to a report that came out of the Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations (FAO) International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security.

    Agroecological farming methods could double global food production in just 10 years, according to a report from the United Nations. Agroecological practices, like organic practices, attempt to mimic natural processes and rely on the biology of the soil and environment rather than synthetic sprays and other inputs.

    Switching to organic methods in communities where people struggle to feed themselves and their families can lead to a harvest 180% larger than that produced by conventional methods. Numerous independent studies have shown that small scale, organic farming is the best option for feeding the world now and in the future. Not only does it produce competitive yields in a healthy and sustainable way as FST has shown, it also supports local communities and cultures. Therefore, our goal for the future is to continue to support the transition of conventional farms to organic farming systems.

    http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst30years/yields

    Eric

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Fast Facts

    Organic yields match conventional yields.

    Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.

    Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.

    Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.

    Conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.

    Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.

    Eric

    Here is a link that might be useful: The Farming Systems Trial

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional. "

    Thats for sure! lol :)

    Really 2% of our food is gown organically for the reason that organic farms take way more land to produce the same yield. If we switched to organic methods, we would have to in fact farm half of the earths surface.

    Organic farming threatens our wetlands, grass lands, forests ect.

    "Organic Farming versus Wildlife Habitat. Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize Winning Ag Scientist, says, "The Truth About Organic Foods gives consumers a through and straight-forward explanation of why organic foods offer no real health or safety bebefits. More importantly, Avery communicates why organic farming's lower yields and reliance on scarce organic fertilizers represents a potential threat to the world's forests, wetlands and grasslands. The book offers scientifically sound evidence that more-affordable conventional foods are healthy for families and also good stewardship of nature."

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Truth-About-Organic-Foods/dp/0978895207

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    " Throughout his years of research, Borlaug's programs often faced opposition by people who consider genetic crossbreeding to be unnatural or to have negative effects.[26] Borlaug's work has been criticized for bringing large-scale monoculture, input-intensive farming techniques to countries that had previously relied on subsistence farming.[27] These farming techniques reap large profits for U.S. agribusiness and agrochemical corporations such as Monsanto Company and have been criticized for widening social inequality in the countries owing to uneven food distribution while forcing a capitalist agenda of U.S. corporations onto countries that had undergone land reform.[28]
    Other concerns of his critics and critics of biotechnology in general include: that the construction of roads in populated third-world areas could lead to the destruction of wilderness; the crossing of genetic barriers; the inability of crops to fulfill all nutritional requirements; the decreased biodiversity from planting a small number of varieties; the environmental and economic effects of inorganic fertilizer and pesticides; the amount of herbicide sprayed on fields of herbicide-resistant crops.[29]

    Worked for DuPont. Paid research by the Rockefeller. Oh No, No agenda there.

    Eric

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    How about 'soil mining'. Because synthetic fertilizer allow crops to be crown year after year with just a till, soil is being lost. Organic matter added o the soil to fit the nutritional needs of organic crops is like an ensured way to keep adding soil, not taking it away.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    " Because synthetic fertilizer allow crops to be crown year after year with just a till, soil is being lost."
    That doesn't hardly seem like a good argument for conventional farming.

    MG, you seem enormously confused. For instance, half of the Earth's surface will have to be farmed without present-day conventional food-porduction methods you keep saying. What does that mean? More than half the Earth's surface is ocean and lakes. Do you mean half of the Earth's dry surface? More than half of that is non-arable due to slope and/or climate. Do you mean more than half of the Earth's arable surface? Nearly all of that is already being farmed in some way.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Half the earth land. Unless you found some way to farm the ocean ?

    No 50% of the earth land is not being farmed lol. Go look up your facts there. Right now only a fraction of the land is being farmed if we did it organically we would have to farm 50% of the earths land.

    I am not for conventional farming. I talked about soil mining being a downfall of conventional farming.

    Have you found a way to farm the ocean?

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "MG, you seem enormously confused"

    Have you found a way to farm the ocean?

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    pnbrown,

    I know you are trying to come up with something to make me look bad, but it just wont work ( I already did that!! ;).

    No really please, did you find a way yet? You know, to farm the surface of water to grow corn.... ;)

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    No, I haven't attempted to grow land crops in the ocean; a mere acre of dry land has proved to be more than I can entirely control.

    No, I'm not trying to make you look bad, I am pointing out that many of your statements are so vague as to be meaningless.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Have you found a way to farm the ocean?"

    "Ocean farming is not a modern innovation. For thousands of years cultures as diverse as the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Aztecs, and Chinese have farmed finfish, shellfish, and aquatic plants. Atlantic salmon have been farmed in Scotland since the early 1600s; seaweed was a staple food for American settlers"

    Eric

    Here is a link that might be useful: Ocean Farming

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "More up-to-date research refutes these arguments. For example, a recent study by scientists at the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture in Switzerland showed that organic farms were only 20 percent less productive than conventional plots over a 21-year period. Looking at more than 200 studies in North America and Europe, Per Pinstrup Andersen (a Cornell professor and winner of the World Food Prize) and colleagues recently concluded that organic yields were about 80 percent of conventional yields. And many studies show an even narrower gap. Reviewing 154 growing seasons' worth of data on various crops grown on rain-fed and irrigated land in the United States, University of California-Davis agricultural scientist Bill Liebhardt found that organic corn yields were 94 percent of conventional yields, organic wheat yields were 97 percent, and organic soybean yields were 94 percent. Organic tomatoes showed no yield difference.

    More importantly, in the world's poorer nations where most of the world's hungry live, the yield gaps completely disappear. University of Essex researchers Jules Pretty and Rachel Hine looked at over 200 agricultural projects in the developing world that converted to organic and ecological approaches, and found that for all the projects-involving 9 million farms on nearly 30 million hectares-yields increased an average of 93 percent. A seven-year study from Maikaal District in central India involving 1,000 farmers cultivating 3,200 hectares found that average yields for cotton, wheat, chili, and soy were as much as 20 percent higher on the organic farms than on nearby conventionally managed ones. Farmers and agricultural scientists attributed the higher yields in this dry region to the emphasis on cover crops, compost, manure, and other practices that increased organic matter (which helps retain water) in the soils. A study from Kenya found that while organic farmers in "high-potential areas" (those with above-average rainfall and high soil quality) had lower maize yields than nonorganic farmers, organic farmers in areas with poorer resource endowments consistently outyielded conventional growers. (In both regions, organic farmers had higher net profits, return on capital, and return on labor.)

    Contrary to critics who jibe that it's going back to farming like our grandfathers did or that most of Africa already farms organically and it can't do the job, organic farming is a sophisticated combination of old wisdom and modern ecological innovations that help harness the yield-boosting effects of nutrient cycles, beneficial insects, and crop synergies. It's heavily dependent on technology-just not the technology that comes out of a chemical plant."

    Here is a link that might be useful: Can Organic Farming Feed Us All?

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Eric,

    This is why I said:

    Posted by TheMasterGardener1 5B (My Page) on Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 11:29


    " You know, to farm the surface of water to grow corn.... ;)"

    I knew someone would try to be smart and talk about fish farms. ;)

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Eric,

    We must have posted at the same time. You have some good info in your last post.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just throwing information into the pool.

    "Badgley's team went out of the way to make its assumptions as conservative as possible: most of the studies they used looked at the yields of a single crop, even though many organic farms grow more than one crop in a field at the same time, yielding more total food even if the yield of any given crop may be lower."

    "�Can organic farming feed the world' is indeed a bogus question," says Gene Kahn, a long-time organic farmer who founded Cascadian Farms organic foods and is now vice president of sustainable development for General Mills. "The real question is, can we feed the world? Period. Can we fix the disparities in human nutrition?" Kahn notes that the marginal difference in today's organic yields and the yields of conventional agriculture wouldn't matter if food surpluses were redistributed.

    But organic farming will yield other benefits that are too numerous to name. Studies have shown, for example, that the "external" costs of organic farming- erosion, chemical pollution to drinking water, death of birds and other wildlife-are just one-third those of conventional farming. Surveys from every continent show that organic farms support many more species of birds, wild plants, insects, and other wildlife than conventional farms. And tests by several governments have shown that organic foods carry just a tiny fraction of the pesticide residues of the nonorganic alternatives, while completely banning growth hormones, antibiotics, and many additives allowed in many conventional foods. There is even some evidence that crops grown organically have considerably higher levels of health-promoting antioxidants.

    There are social benefits as well. Because organic farming doesn't depend on expensive inputs, it might help shift the balance towards smaller farmers in hungry nations. A 2002 report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization noted that "organic systems can double or triple the productivity of traditional systems" in developing nations but suggested that yield comparisons offer a "limited, narrow, and often misleading picture" since farmers in these countries often adopt organic farming techniques to save water, save money, and reduce the variability of yields in extreme conditions. A more recent study by the International Fund for Agricultural Development found that the higher labor requirements often mean that "organic agriculture can prove particularly effective in bringing redistribution of resources in areas where the labour force is underemployed. This can help contribute to rural stability."

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Another quote

    "Enough Nitrogen To Go Around?

    In addition to looking at raw yields, the University of Michigan scientists also examined the common concern that there aren't enough available sources of non-synthetic nitrogen-compost, manure, and plant residues-in the world to support large-scale organic farming. For instance, in his book Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production, Vaclav Smil argues that roughly two-thirds of the world's food harvest depends on the Haber-Bosch process, the technique developed in the early 20th century to synthesize ammonia fertilizer from fossil fuels. (Smil admits that he largely ignored the contribution of nitrogen-fixing crops and assumed that some of them, like soybeans, are net users of nitrogen, although he himself points out that on average half of all the fertilizer applied globally is wasted and not taken up by plants.) Most critics of organic farming as a means to feed the world focus on how much manure-and how much related pastureland and how many head of livestock-would be needed to fertilize the world's organic farms. "The issue of nitrogen is different in different regions," says Don Lotter, an agricultural consultant who has published widely on organic farming and nutrient requirements. "But lots more nitrogen comes in as green manure than animal manure."

    Looking at 77 studies from the temperate areas and tropics, the Michigan team found that greater use of nitrogen-fixing crops in the world's major agricultural regions could result in 58 million metric tons more nitrogen than the amount of synthetic nitrogen currently used every year. Research at the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania showed that red clover used as a winter cover in an oat/wheat-corn-soy rotation, with no additional fertilizer inputs, achieved yields comparable to those in conventional control fields. Even in arid and semi-arid tropical regions like East Africa, where water availability is limited between periods of crop production, drought-resistant green manures such as pigeon peas or groundnuts could be used to fix nitrogen. In Washington state, organic wheat growers have matched their non-organic neighbor's wheat yields using the same field pea rotation for nitrogen. In Kenya, farmers using leguminous tree crops have doubled or tripled corn yields as well as suppressing certain stubborn weeds and generating additional animal fodder.

    The Michigan results imply that no additional land area is required to obtain enough biologically available nitrogen, even without including the potential for intercropping (several crops grown in the same field at the same time), rotation of livestock with annual crops, and inoculation of soil with Azobacter, Azospirillum, and other free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria."

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Off topic

    "To deal with the dilemma, the first Master Gardening program was launched in 1973 by Washington State�s Cooperative Extension Service. A small cadre of volunteers underwent formal training to handle typical inquiries about lawn care, flower and vegetable gardens, pesticides, the environment and more. The volunteer force quickly proved its worth to the extension program by freeing local extension agents to focus on more traditional and technical horticulture questions.

    Sounds like the Extension Agents are the masters. LOL!

    Eric

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Eric,

    I have an experimental plot in central fla where I set up and leave crops on their own. Winter in florida is semi-arid, along with the limitation of soil temps cool enough to inhibit or delay germination of many crop seeds and a few killing frosts per year. Combine this with extraordinarily impoverished native soil and the ability of certain native and invasive plants to go totally nuts in the summer heat and one has a very harsh yet interesting situation.

    I am finding that as always, it's all about well-adapted legumes, some useful crops for humans, some not.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Posted by wayne_5 6a.IN (My Page) on Thu, Nov 22, 12 at 15:02
    I believe that a lot of the taste difference is due to being able to pick things at the peak of flavor...a lot more practical with home grown.

    Lets then keep the double blind taste test to items purchased at a major chain grocery store that carries organic produce, around here, all of it would be shipped from California. So I'd assume a similar under-ripe harvest.

    The most remarkable differences for me are celery, apples, and winter squash.

    Again this refers back to the brix content. And I imagine that as with all random tests, some days there would be no taste difference, some days the organic might be more bland. But just on taste alone, I'll pop an extra 20 - 50 cents a lb for organic apples, celery, salads, and so on.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dave, I agree, IME taste and brix closely correlate. High brix produce is either sweeter or stronger-tasting. And also hazier brix has more depth of flavor and aftertaste, more "dimension".

    The double-blind taste test you describe would be interesting. I might try it sometime.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Let me be the last post. There are millions starving, it is nice that you can say how nice organic farming is with a full stomach. The thing is organic farming can not in fact feed the world.