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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Organically Grown?


It seems like the term organically grown is a new trend. I get advertisements every Tuesday from the mailman in my mailbox. Usually they go directly into the recycle bin but once in a while I flip through them. Recently I see a new trend.

Many stores and restaurants are using the word organic in their advertising. I see some businesses advertising foods that are organically grown. These foods are not necessarily fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds but most often they are processed foods such as pancake mixes, slices of animal flesh, or processed dairy and or egg products.

First of all, the term organic is a relatively recent invention. It was coined in the late 1930s when the world of agriculture had turned to using the leftover products from the war for crop production. Prior to that time most every crop was already organic.

Organic really implies that the food was raised without artificial pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers and other products that have a direct affect on the food. This doesn't mean that the crop is totally raised naturally but that the 'cides that are used on the crop are of an organic nature.

I saw an ad in a magazine that was advertising wine. The top of the ad said that prior to 1945 everything was organic. Wine is not a food or a drink that is really important to the nutritional state of humans so it's not really important if wine is organic or not since it is already a poison. It doesn't matter if a poison was created in a less poison environment because it can't really get less poison than poisonous.

The other foods certainly do make a difference. Unfortunately when dealing with processed foods or animal foods, organics really loses most of it's meaning. The idea behind organics is to have food that is as close to the way nature would have created it in the first place.

Processed food and animal products are already foods(?) that have been modified from what nature provides for humans and therefore using the term organic to describe them is not really in the spirit of the intention of the term. In these cases it is more being used as a marketing term and not a term to describe how close the food comes to being grown in nature.

In general when I select foods to consume I will opt for the organic version as often as is practical. When the price is totally outrageous for the organic variety for example of blueberries I will either pass on them or occasionally I will opt for the conventional variety. A good compromise is buying from the farmers at the local farmer's markets who assure me that they do not use any pesticides on their produce.

These methods are acceptable to me since I feel the pesticides used on the plant are more likely to cause problems with my health than the fertilizers, which the plant can 'choose' which part of them it needs and which it doesn't need. Plants will naturally grow roots towards the minerals and organic products it needs in the ground and away from the products it doesn't need or which can be harmful to the plant.

The most important point I wish to make in this post is that we actually need to seek out and pay extra for organic foods these days while from the beginning of time until about 1939 or so there was nothing but organics available for our consumption. Does this make any sense? Why isn't it the other way around and we grow everything organic and take a small percentage of the food and grow it in a 'conventional' way and charge extra for that? Doesn't that make more sense? If people take a liking to toxins in their food grown in an extremely unsustainable way they should be able to choose these but to force this on the entire population is outrageous.

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