In Part 1 of my mini-series (a long, long time ago), I discussed why the anti-GMO crowd and those of us that appreciate science can’t just get along.
This time, let’s talk about organic folks.
First, let me say that it isn’t impossible for conventional and organic farmers to get along. I don’t understand the purpose or point of organic farming (especially because they still use pesticides), but if a farmer wants to do it then fine. If a person wants to set up an “organic” garden in their backyard, go for it. I even found this excellent site, which stresses the safety and value of both types of produce. I even think we can learn from each other.
The point is, we can get along; it is possible.
But that’s only going to happen when the organic crowd stops trying to attack conventional products in order to promote their own. Stand on your own; don’t knock our stuff.
The attacks on conventional produce are numerous and prevalent. Let’s look at a few examples.
Organic Bytes, which is a weekly email newsletter put out by the Organic Consumers Association. Past articles have included: “Monsanto’s Evil Twin,” “Agent Orange Corn & Soy? No Thanks.,” “Tell the FDA: GMOs Aren’t ‘Natural’!,” and “USDA: ‘Not Enough Evidence’ to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides.”
Health tops the list of concerns about GMOs, junk foods and food from factory farms. But consumers aren’t just rejecting these foods because of their potential to cause health problems. They’re consciously choosing organic for its nutritional superiority.
The health safety benefits of organic foods are well known. For the most part, organic farming prohibits the use of toxic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, nanoparticles, climate-destabilizing chemical fertilizers like toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, and genetically engineered ingredients.
Yep, that’s us conventional farmers using everything toxic on the food we eat! (Remember: There is no nutritional difference in organic vs conventional, regardless what Organic Bytes wants you to believe.)
The Organic Trade Association’s website contains a section for Questions & Answers. One Q&A reads:
Are all organic products completely free of pesticide residues?
Certified organic products have been grown and handled according to strict standards without toxic and persistent chemical inputs. However, organic crops are inadvertently exposed to agricultural chemicals that are now pervasive in rain and ground water due to their overuse during the past fifty years in North America, and due to drift via wind and rain.
That isn’t even true! Organic farmers do use pesticides and a lot of them are pretty nasty. And some of them can and do leave residue on the food. Also, note the accusation that conventional farmers are so overly using pesticides that we have contaminated all the water in North America.
But it doesn’t stop with subtle digs and accusations. Take a look at this post by Food Babe (If you haven’t heard of Food Babe and her ridiculous crusade, check out this article by Julie Gunlock.)
|Really? Can corn chips be evil?
The only “evil” is spreading fear about food.
|Actually, my grandparents were conventional farmers.|
Whether we like it or not, the reason there is such a backlash against conventional farming practices is simply because the anti-conventional forces, a large part of which is the organic industry, are pushing it. Every time they scare a consumer into believing farmers are the bad guys, they get another customer.
|Screen shot from “Mamavation” about how bad
conventional foods are for you.
Sarah [NurseLovesFar says
I just love this post, as you know I'm on the exact same page as you. I truly do not care if people farm organically, it's amazing to have diversity in agriculture to give our consumers choices—it's where they throw our conventional practices under the bus (and how much of this is the actual farmer's input? Would be interesting to know) to sell their "superior" product. Why else would anyone pay a 30-50%+ markup for their food?
like like like! We need more advocates for conventional farming to outweigh the vocal minority putting us all down. Love your blog.
Robert Saik says
MOST of the Anti-GMO comments are generated by people or companies trying to sell their higher priced (no better) products by bashing the farming practiced that truly sustain most people.
I so strongly agree with you that the anti-conventional marketing perpetrated by organic marketers is terrible and unethical (because it is largely based on lies). I would like to articulate some of the scientific benefits of organic ag (or nearly organic agriculture) and get your response. Would you be interested in this, and is there a preferred method (email, guest post, etc.) Ethan BodnarukPh.D. Student, Ecological Engineering
Ethan, thank you for your comment. You can email me at [email protected] regarding any ideas you might have. 🙂
Jared Cornell says
How can you say conventional produce is better than organic produce? Even in the super market, there is a visual difference between the two in many cases. Conventional agriculture uses pesticides in greater quantities than organic farming. These pesticides are not good for your health. There may be some myths out there that do need to be debunked but organic farming is clearly a superior method to conventional.
I’m not sure what grocery store you’re going to, but all the organic produce I’ve ever seen looks gross. Besides, your statement doesn’t even make sense. Why do you think farmers would produce food conventionally if it made less quality produce?
Organic produce has no nutritional benefits. It is worse for the environment. It is simply a marketing gimmick.