Landmark Study Underscores Wide-Ranging Benefits of Pesticide-Free Farming

From The Guardian:

“The research was peer-reviewed and is published in a respected scientific journal, the British Journal of Nutrition.

The results are based on an analysis of 343 peer-reviewed studies from around the world – more than ever before – which examine differences between organic and conventional fruit, vegetables and cereals.

“The crucially important thing about this research is that it shatters the myth that how we farm does not affect the quality of the food we eat,” said Helen Browning, chief executive of Soil Association, which campaigns for organic farming.

UK sales of organic food, which is often considerably more expensive than non-organic, are recovering after a slump during the economic crisis.

Plants produce many of their antioxidant compounds to fight back against pest attacks, so the higher levels in organic crops may result from their lack of protection by chemical sprays. But the scientists say other reasons may be important, such as organic varieties being bred for toughness and not being overfed with artificial fertilisers.

Leifert and his colleagues conclude that many antioxidants “have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers”. But they also note that no long-term studies showing health benefits from a broad organic diet have yet been conducted.

The researchers found much higher levels of cadmium, a toxic metal, in conventional crops. Pesticide residues were found on conventional crops four times more often than on organic food. The research was funded by the EU and an organic farming charity.

The research is certain to be criticised: the inclusion of so many studies in the analysis could mean poor quality work skews the results, although the team did “sensitivity analyses” and found that excluding weaker work did not significantly change the outcome.”

link to report at Cambridge Journals

Another educational opportunity

Mother Jones has an article about how organic strawberries can come from plants that are not organically started. I insert two of the comments here, one that expounds our point of view, and one that does not:

That’s why farmers’ markets are getting so popular. More and more people want to know where their food is coming from. They don’t want to get sick from nasty bacteria or chemicals. The local market where we shop is busy every week, and the growers accept WIC, SNAP, and Senior Nutrition coupons (thus belying the popular right-wing myth that only rich yuppies go to farmers’ markets.)

Yesterday 03:40 PM in reply to
beware … the farmer’s markets AND roadside stands … ask the question … they are often owned by the BIG scale producers … being in a farmer’s market / road side stand … DOES NOT make it organic.

otherwise … yes … buy local … join the best local COOP or Food Share.

Toxic organic strawberries

Hopefully, our friends in CA farmers markets have their conversational ear ready for this sort of question at their markets. Do you?

From tobacco to organic food

Matthew Garrett, Garrett's Gardens: Converting 40 acre Tobacco Farm to Organic Produce from RAFI-USA TCRF on Vimeo.