Unfortunately, most consumers are confused about what the organic certification actually means (hint: they still use chemicals!). Organic advertising does nothing to correct the image either, usually taking the opposite approach and encouraging it. The Organic Consumer Association usually has no problem talking about how terrible conventional farming methods are for people. I also hate the assumption that organic farming is better for the environment than conventional farming.
If someone wants to farm organically, then they should go ahead and do that after they make an informed decision. Be my guest. Production methods are a choice and I like farmers having choices. I also appreciate that I can choose not to support certain production methods, especially if I have a philosophical disagreement with that production method.
I found the philosophy of the organics movement to be a barrel raft covered in loose planks. In trying to justify their beliefs, they pile on the claims (planks), each of which rests on a different assumption (barrel). And when one claim is questioned, they simply jump to another plank on the raft and try to hold it all together. Sadly, for the investigator, dismantling a raft of claims requires a crew of rebuttals.
Members of the Organic Consumers Association also employ the derisive term “chemical farmers” in their screeds. They even come right out and say that local foods not “organically-produced” are unsafe and that consumers should shun their local farmer who is not certified organic. Their modus operandi is to frighten people into buying organic.
It doesn’t even follow that organic methods are more “sustainable” than “conventional” ones. My deconversion from this last plank of belief has been preserved for posterity in an exchange with Robert Carroll of the Skeptics Dictionary, under his entry on “organic (food and farming).” He says:
“…the problems we will face will probably be exacerbated if we went totally organic. Think of how much more land we would have to use to feed the world’s population. Where is this land going to come from? Clear-cutting rainforests? …organic farming could feed the world if population stopped or receded, but that is unlikely to happen any time soon. Conventional farming of genetically modified crops may be the only hope for feeding the billions more that are likely to be added to world population within the next 50 years.”
You can read the entire (lengthy, but worth it) article here.
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