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" Is Organic Food Worth the Price? Americans are among the most starved people on this planet - the issue, "My Secret Life as a Farmer

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  • Alberto Machado
    main article of the issue, My Secret Life as a Farmer, is recommended Is Organic Food Worth the Price? By Gene
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 19, 2007
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      main article of the issue, <http://www.purewatergazette.net/secret.htm> "My
      Secret Life as a Farmer," is recommended

      Is Organic Food Worth the Price?

      By Gene Franks



      Americans are among the most starved people on this planet. In spite of all
      the chemical supplements and new foods, we are living on a diet that is
      deficient in the essential factors of life. We have an epidemic of extreme
      malnutrition and a nation where over 65% of the American people are
      chronically ill. Our diet lacks the vital force of the more primitive basic
      foods.--Viktokras Kulvinskas.



      The Gazette challenges readers to learn more about food. Survival in our age
      of high-tech misinformation requires, in fact, that we become passionate
      amateurs in the art of feeding ourselves. Allowing food industry
      professionals to make food choices for us is not only unwise and
      unhealthy--it is positively boring. Nourishing our bodies is one of life's
      basic pleasures. Procuring and preparing food should occupy a larger share
      of our time and get a larger share of our resources. Eating well is fun, and
      we should indulge ourselves in excellent foods.

      The degree to which we can indulge ourselves in food, of course, depends
      upon our individual resources. I confess that this article will not solve
      the problems of the very poor, who are required by necessity to settle for
      the less expensive foods, just as they settle for less in other areas of
      life. I know no cure for this. But everyone, even those who cannot buy
      organically grown produce, can eat as well as their resources allow.
      Potatoes cost less than potato chips; yams cost less than Snickers bars;
      excellently filtered water costs far less than sodas.

      A big part of the American food myth is that food should be cheap. It should
      not. Food should, in fact, get top billing on our list of spending
      priorities. To buy cheap food in order to afford an expensive lawnmower
      demonstrates a perverted value system.

      Organically grown foods are among the items many view as unaffordable. This
      is the narrow view of the issue, based only on the purchase price. John
      Ruskin, an English thinker and artist so famous they named a cigar after
      him, pointed out that when an item purchased for what seems a low price
      fails to fulfill the need it was intended for, the purchaser has not saved
      money but has in fact wasted the full purchase price. Because of our
      food-should-be-cheap conditioning, an organically grown tomato may seem
      expensive; but a delicious, locally grown, fresh-from-the-garden,
      chemical-free tomato is a great bargain when compared with the tasteless,
      ether-reddened blob of mush offered at half the price by the Killer Tomato
      industry.

      The reasons for buying organic food are many. Some that are often mentioned
      (this listing is indebted to the Spring 1992 issue of Organic Times) are the
      protection of children (they are more vulnerable than adults to pesticide
      poisoning); prevention of soil erosion (perhaps our most severe problem in
      the long run); the protection of water quality (pesticides, herbicides, and
      commercial fertilizers are formidable water contaminants); energy savings
      (organic farming is essentially labor intensive, while conventional farming
      is one of our major energy wasters); prevention of chemical poisoning of
      farm workers (remember Cesar Chavez); helping small farmers (organic farming
      favors the small producer, while conventional farming is designed to
      eliminate family farms and put all land in the hands of large corporate
      "farmers"); support of a true economy (although organic foods might appear
      more expensive, we, as taxpayers, pay dearly for the pollution cleanup,
      pesticide testing, irrigation projects, soil depletion, hazardous waste
      disposal, farm subsidies, etc. resulting from conventional agriculture);
      promotion of biodiversity (the disastrous practice of monocropping is the
      hallmark of meat-based conventional agriculture); and, certainly not least
      important, the provision of more nutritious, better-tasting food.

      Although organically grown produce has shown itself repeatedly to be
      superior to conventionally grown food in "food chart" nutrients, there are
      certainly intangible nutritional benefits not yet recognized or measurable.
      Nutrition is a science in its infancy. In spite of the know-it-all posture
      assumed by many nutrition professionals, most university "nutrition science"
      is more theory than fact. As a single example, consider the broad
      disagreement among experts on the very basic question of whether or not the
      body assimilates inorganic minerals from water.

      One of the intangible "ingredients" that makes organic food much superior to
      conventional is what some writers have called "information." Homeopathy
      should have taught us by now that there are unseen, intangible essences at
      work in nature that defy explanation by orthodox material science. Although
      no one has explained it, information, the wisdom of the soil, the wisdom of
      billions of years of experience, takes on physical substance in food grown
      under natural conditions. It is like spirit becoming flesh.

      According to nutrition writer John David Mann, ancient foods like naturally
      grown microalgae are rich in information. "A food that goes back over four
      billion years," he writes, "clearly has a rich store of valuable genetic
      information." Other writers have speculated on how this ancient information
      is passed to food consumers. Orthodox Science, our nation's leading
      religion, scoffs because it cannot explain the mechanism, just as it
      initially scoffed at belief in roundness of the planet and the circulation
      of blood.

      Mann says that organically grown foods are information rich: "Beyond their
      mere avoidance of chemicals, they contain the value of the skill and
      craftsmanship of their production; the care taken to preserve the soil on
      which they're grown; the traditional methods they embody; the preservation
      of genetic diversity; and even the social value of the small-scale,
      family-farm economy that underpins their production."

      The importance of eating food that has been grown in real soil, or in pure,
      natural water in the case of algae, rather than the chemically created
      artificial growing surface of conventional farming is that soil imparts its
      information to the plant. Genuine organic soil is not only rich in trace
      elements not available to commercially grown plants, but also in
      micro-organisms which, the old Roman poet Lucretius reminded us, "hand on
      the torch of life, like runners in a race," passing on from generation to
      generation the wisdom of the soil and the experience of the ages. It is
      through the living soil and through the ancient plants that grow in it that
      we are rooted to the earth. "The statement that the earth is our mother,"
      writes Nobel laureate Rene Dubos, "is more than a sentimental platitude,
      since . . . we are shaped by the earth. The characteristics of the
      environment in which we develop condition our biological and mental being
      and the quality of our life. Were it only for selfish reasons, therefore, we
      must maintain variety and harmony in nature."

      No mater how much USDA would deny it, a tomato grown from an heirloom seed
      in rich, chemical-free soil, nourished by natural light, clean water, and a
      full complement of micro-organisms and trace minerals, has valuable
      information and other intangible benefits that can never be listed in
      Handbook 8. That its monetary cost should be greater makes sense.



      Editor: This article appeared initially in Gazette #45. The main article of
      the issue, <http://www.purewatergazette.net/secret.htm> "My Secret Life as
      a Farmer," is recommended.







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tradingpost
      The nutritional value of organically grown food isn t in question. But to perpetuate the myth that organic has to cost more to grow and cost more to buy only
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 19, 2007
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        The nutritional value of organically grown food isn't in question. But to
        perpetuate the myth that organic has to cost more to grow and cost more to
        buy only keeps organic marginalized and guarantees it's beyond the reach of
        most consumers living payday to payday. When organic growers learn to grow
        sustainably without using fossil fuel machinery and excessive water and
        labor, then their costs will come down along with their prices. All the
        methods to accomplish this have long been demonstrated.

        paul tradingpost@...

        *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

        On 1/19/2007 at 10:28 AM Alberto Machado wrote:

        >main article of the issue, <http://www.purewatergazette.net/secret.htm>
        >"My
        >Secret Life as a Farmer," is recommended
        >
        >Is Organic Food Worth the Price?
        >
        >By Gene Franks
        >
        > snip
      • jimgerhold
        It s probably clear to everyone here, but until people realize that when they buy out of season produce that s either grown in a green house or halfway across
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 19, 2007
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          It's probably clear to everyone here, but until people realize that
          when they buy out of season produce that's either grown in a green
          house or halfway across the world(both green houses and shipping are
          costly)...they're gonna pay a pretty penny for this food organic or
          not. The problem now is the huge corporate food suppliers hijacking
          the word "organic". Now Walmart is jumping on the bandwagon to
          sell "organic" food products becoming the largest supplier of organic
          milk among other organic products. Most of this organic food will be
          imported from China, Sierra Leone, or Brazil(places where standards
          will be hard to enforce, not to mention living and working
          conditions). Farmers as well as consumers need to be conscious of
          these factors. It's far less expensive to produce in-season crops
          and sell them locally as well as more profitable to the farmer to
          sell his/her goods directly to the consumer. We all have to
          embrace "buy local, buy fresh, and buy in-season". More importantly,
          I think that nutrient dense foods should be sought after. High Brix
          foods...foods that are nutrient dense taste good. Not even all
          organic produce is nutrient dense or actually taste good for that
          matter. I've had organically grown fruits and veggies that just
          plain taste bad, bitter-like with an almost chemical taste to them.
          When crops are grown in truly fertile/bioactive soil...there's no
          pest/disease problems...therefore less financial input.
          Agrochemicals/fertilers can account for 20-30% or higher for most
          conventional farmers. Most organic farmers use some sort of organic
          fertilizers...not to mention expensive specialized equipment like
          combines, harvesters, etc. If farmers could put more faith in the
          methods of fukuoka style farming...that would also have a tremendous
          effect on costs/prices. Initially...they might have poor yields but
          a lot of money would be saved by eliminating
          other "conventional/organic" capital investments.

          James
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