5 comments on “Organic Is Always Superior To Conventional – Right?

  1. This is going to be a long comment, and for that I apologize. But for a “mythbuster,” Ms. Wilcox gets a lot of her facts wrong, and manages to misinterpret, misunderstand, or tell half-truths about a lot of others:
    1) Certified organic products have been sold in the U.S. since shortly after the formation of OCIA in 1985. The USDA was tasked with creating a national regulation with the 1990 Organic Food Production Act, and the NOP Final Rule was first published in 2000.
    2) ALL pesticides used by ALL farmers on ALL types of farms are subject to exactly the same rules and regulations. This only makes logical sense: conventional farmers are free to purchase and apply products approved for organic use, and many do –especially the new bio-controls being introduced. (The faulty reasoning is obvious: the regulatory agencies oversee the products as a whole – they don’t track who is buying and using them, whether those buyers are organic or not, and then purposely ignore those who are!)
    3) Wilcox conveniently fails to mention that government monitoring programs routinely find significantly lower levels of pesticides in organic produce (no, the levels are not always zero because no one can control where the wind blows and the rain falls.) Research has also demonstrated that children see an immediate and significant reduction in pesticide residues and metabolites in their urine shortly after switching to an all-organic diet.
    4) There is absolutely NO evidence to suggest that organic products carry a higher risk of contamination from pathogenic microbes. NONE. I’ve challenged countless people to produce evidence to this effect, and not a single person has been able to do so. It is simply a myth. The produce study Wilcox sites was plagued by significant errors in statistical analysis and interpretation (yes, you’ll find junk science in places other than the GMO debate!) Oh, and conventional farms do not use irradiation to reduce the risk of contamination from manure – check which products are approved for irradiation and you can bust that myth pretty quickly.
    5) Those higher levels of trans-fats found in organic livestock products that Wilcox says might make organic worse for us? They’re called conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) and omega3 fatty acids. Ya, the ones we’re supposed to be eating MORE of.
    6) Bt plants do not reduce the environmental load of Bt compared to organic sprays – if anything they increase it, because the plants (millions of acres of them), are producing the toxin all of the time, instead of just being sprayed when needed. Again, the research indicates the presence of these toxins in waterways and their negative impact of soil microbiology, long after the crop is dead and gone.
    7) GMOs are not the only way to enhance the nutritional value of crops – I grow tomatoes high in anthocyanins, squash high is beta-carotene, and high-vitamin carrots on my organic farm every year.
    8) Hunger is not caused by under-production: we produce more than enough calories to feed everyone, but hungry people cannot afford it or cannot access it, or it simply gets wasted.
    9) Organic methods have an important role to play in the future of agriculture; all production methods are continually improving in efficiency – speculating about needing “extra land” to feed the world if everyone went organic is an unrealistic over-simplification of a complex issue that frankly borders on fear-mongering.
    10) Organic farmers are adopting new technologies all of the time (like the bio-controls I mentioned above). Pretending that conventional farms are the only progressive ones, or that GMOS are the only technology advancing agriculture is a complete fallacy.
    These “I don’t hate organic farming but let me bash it based on lies and half-truths” types of posts would be amusing if they weren’t so pervasive. I’m all for supporting food choices and a diversity of farming methods, but let’s not pretend to be judging based on facts when we really aren’t! Wilcox’s conclusions and her calls for an end to the divisive propagandizing are certainly admirable. Too bad she can’t seem to take her own advice.

    • She also conveniently left out the fact that monsanto has hundreds of lawsuits for patent infringement against small farmers because the winds from gmo crops contaminate there. Considering their world market share and the very aggressive legal tactics, one might think they are trying to own the worlds food supply

      • Do you have evidence to support that Monsanto has hundreds of lawsuits pending due to wind drift from GMO crops? That is a myth. They have sued farmers for violating license agreements regarding their seeds but not because of wind drift.

        There is so much misinformation out there it is just sad. Myths about GMOs. Myths about organics. All of it. What we all deserve to know is the truth and even that seems to be loosely interpreted much of time, and by all sides.

        Here is Monsanto’s own explanation of their lawsuits pending and settled. Lawsuits are a matter of public record.

    • Songberryfarm: I really appreciate your detailed comments. Clearly you are passionate about what you do and want the truth to be known. That is admirable and you have my full respect. When you describe the “I don’t hate organic farming but let me bash it based on lies and half-truths” kinds of posts, it hits me that these posts are fast becoming backlash against the anti-GMO campaign’s backlash against Big Food. While I don’t profess to be any kind of organic farming expert, I do know that, to the best of my knowledge and from what I’ve observed, the myths circulating about organic farming pale in comparison to those that circulate about GMOs. I realize that doesn’t make it right to spread any kind of half truths or lies but I tend to take the view that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. People should be made aware that no kind of farming is perfect and there is no one size fits all solution for feeding the planet’s growing population. I would never say that GMOs alone will solve all our problems… nor would I say that organic farming, alone, as it is presently conducted will. I am rooting for a balanced progression into the future and hope that transgenic technology and organics can coexist on farms of the future to the benefit of our beautiful planet.

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