Author Topic: Organic food... Worth the price?  (Read 29436 times)

DeltaBond

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #50 on: June 03, 2015, 08:54:35 AM »
Why is non-GMO a "benefit"?

It's a benefit if you don't understand science.

Incorrect, my friend, those of us who don't fear normal produce DO understand science.  And to answer the OP, no, it is not worth the money.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2015, 10:35:09 AM »
Also no approved GMO peanuts, yet peanut allergies are also on the rise.

I was thinking that are immune systems *could* be triggered by GMOs and by having a heightened immune reaction we are more likely to be allergic other non GMO substances.  Again, personal, non-scientific theory and always open to dispelling it with research and discussion. 

DeltaBond

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2015, 06:10:59 PM »
Also no approved GMO peanuts, yet peanut allergies are also on the rise.

I was thinking that are immune systems *could* be triggered by GMOs and by having a heightened immune reaction we are more likely to be allergic other non GMO substances.  Again, personal, non-scientific theory and always open to dispelling it with research and discussion.

Alright, I'll explain, as a chemist I tend to research the scientific papers published on these topics, which are not easy to find on google type search engines.  Are you familiar with a disease killing off the majority of a crop, we've all heard of this, right?  Ok, the remaining plants in the crop that weren't killed are resistant to that particular disease.... this is a natural process untouched by man.  Now, understand that agricultural scientists have subjected plants to as many diseases as they could, finding only the plants who were resistant to those diseases (and pests) so pesticides and other chemicals would not be needed in growing our food.  THAT is Genetically Modified food.  Unfortunately, the misunderstanding of how that simple process works has caused a scare among uninformed consumers, and like many other unecessary scares, have led people to thinking they have to buy expensive versions of things.

I personally don't want mass produced organic vegetables because so many of those farmers have to charge extra due to all the chemicals they have to use in farming, and I like less chemicals, not more chemicals.  GMO vs organic has nothing to do with allergens... unless you're like some people who have allergies to the chemicals some organic farmers use.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 06:12:53 PM by DeltaBond »

forummm

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #53 on: June 04, 2015, 07:40:23 AM »
Also no approved GMO peanuts, yet peanut allergies are also on the rise.

I was thinking that are immune systems *could* be triggered by GMOs and by having a heightened immune reaction we are more likely to be allergic other non GMO substances.  Again, personal, non-scientific theory and always open to dispelling it with research and discussion.

Alright, I'll explain, as a chemist I tend to research the scientific papers published on these topics, which are not easy to find on google type search engines.  Are you familiar with a disease killing off the majority of a crop, we've all heard of this, right?  Ok, the remaining plants in the crop that weren't killed are resistant to that particular disease.... this is a natural process untouched by man.  Now, understand that agricultural scientists have subjected plants to as many diseases as they could, finding only the plants who were resistant to those diseases (and pests) so pesticides and other chemicals would not be needed in growing our food.  THAT is Genetically Modified food.  Unfortunately, the misunderstanding of how that simple process works has caused a scare among uninformed consumers, and like many other unecessary scares, have led people to thinking they have to buy expensive versions of things.

I personally don't want mass produced organic vegetables because so many of those farmers have to charge extra due to all the chemicals they have to use in farming, and I like less chemicals, not more chemicals.  GMO vs organic has nothing to do with allergens... unless you're like some people who have allergies to the chemicals some organic farmers use.

Actually, that's not what GMO means in common usage. Typically a GMO crop is a scientifically engineered genetic mutation that is frequently introduced by lacing special virus with a particular strain of genetic material (coding for a particular protein), and then essentially infecting the target plant with that virus. The virus then edits the plant's DNA, causing it to produce the desired protein. The desired protein is generally selected from some other organism that scientists found to have desired characteristics. But this is only because we don't really know how to create proteins that have desired characteristics de novo. Eventually the field will move into creating proteins that are new to the Earth and will insert them into plants too.

I think GMOs are a dual edged sword. They have the potential to make food more nutritious, grow with fewer chemicals and fertilizers, be more disease resistant, etc. But they make potentially our entire food system vulnerable. This is literally an existential threat in some circumstances. In Ireland there was massive population decline due to the blight that caused the potato famine. When you have one crop that is vulnerable to the same disease, it can wipe out all production of that food. So if we start putting the same proteins in all our food crops (which we are already doing--once you find one thing that works, people want to put it in everything), and it turns out that protein causes the plant to become vulnerable to a disease we are currently unaware of, then suddenly our food production could get nearly wiped out. And this isn't just speculation. I believe that pretty much all field corn (field corn is fed to animals, processed into HFCS, ethanol, and other products, and is not the corn on the cob you eat--although the GMO share of that is increasing as well) grown in the US is GMO corn. Industries move quickly to adopt monocultures. This is just one of the many risks of GMOs. Certainly some people could be more allergic to them. And there are other risks. It is unclear to me whether

Jesstache

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #54 on: June 04, 2015, 09:38:57 AM »
I'd also like to throw in anti-bacterial soap/cleaners and hand sanitizer.  I forbid it in my house.  Nothing like making a super sterile environment for kids so they're hyper sensitive to everything.   You bet your butt my kid's going to eat that waffle he dropped on the floor.  Build that immunity, little buddy... Then, go outside and play.

More on point with the original thread, I refuse to pay more for the organic label.  The only thing me buying organic does is cost me more $.  My favorite anecdote on the logic of those buying organic is about someone who is at Starbucks and their kid wants a snack, they're not sure if the bananas they have there are organic or not, so they buy their kid the Organic Annie's fruit snacks instead... You know, just to be safe.  I wish I could believe this doesn't actually happen.

Bob W

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #55 on: June 04, 2015, 09:54:11 AM »
For those of you who buy organic because of health reasons or a supposed milder impact on the environment, keep the following in mind. Organic DOES NOT MEAN pesticide free. Many "natural" pesticides can be used (and are heavily used) in organic farming, even though these "natural" pesticides can be more toxic (including to the environment) and may need to be used in much greater amounts than synthetic alternatives. On top of that, because organic growers are restricted in which pesticides they can use, they may end up applying pesticides much more often than if they had access to a modern, fit-for-purpose synthetic pesticide.

Also keep in mind that at least in the United States, the National Organic Program is a marketing program, run by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. It is not a program that purports to certify "healthier" or "more environmentally friendly" food. It exists solely because consumers demand it and because sellers can demand a premium for produce that has been certified.

And finally, remember that pesticides are thoroughly studied and heavily regulated. That does not mean that we should blindly trust chemical companies or the government, just that we know a lot more about pesticides than about many other chemicals. And the levels of pesticide residues that are found on produce (both organic and non-organic) are routinely far below any levels of concern.

Well that is interesting --- When I think organic I'm thinking primarily about meat.  I knew the "organic" label was a scam but didn't realize it was USDA.  That pretty much voids any relevance to the label. 

I think that ideally I would purchase locally from known farmer.   All the cides in veggies is a concern though.   Probably impossible to get around pesticides in veggies.  I can only grow them for a few months a year. 

Consider this though ----  Food/food additives  are the number one environmental input that we receive.  (some may argue air or light).   Food effects gene expression, health profiles,  emotions,  brain development,  behavior,  educational aptitude,  life span,  height and weight, etc..

So it is very much something worth considering.   There are 10s of thousands of opinions by experts regarding good diets.   It would behoove one to jump into that rabbit hole and dig to the bottom.   

beltim

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #56 on: June 04, 2015, 10:01:13 AM »
I'm just going to point out that the percentage of people who support mandatory labeling of GMO foods is the same as the percentage of people who support mandatory labeling of foods containing DNA:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/01/17/over-80-percent-of-americans-support-mandatory-labels-on-foods-containing-dna/

I think that's the best example of ignorance on the subject that I've seen.

GuitarStv

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #57 on: June 04, 2015, 10:18:45 AM »
Food contains DNA now?  Between this and all the dihydrogen monoxide in water I don't know what to do . . .

beltim

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #58 on: June 04, 2015, 10:21:17 AM »
Food contains DNA now?  Between this and all the dihydrogen monoxide in water I don't know what to do . . .

I prefer to call it by it's scarier name, hydroxy acid.  Or is is acid hydroxide?  It's an acid and a base!

Zikoris

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #59 on: June 04, 2015, 10:28:23 AM »
I used to get a weekly delivery of organic local produce more out of laziness than anything else (they delivered it into my kitchen), and I found it to be much more flavorful and higher quality than the other stuff. I don't do that anymore due to not wanting to spend crazy amounts with little benefit.

I drink organic soy milk because that brand is the one my Costco carries and it's an excellent price. I also buy organic lemons if I'm going to be using the rind for baking lemon scones. Otherwise mo organic here. I do intend to eventually try to grow a lot of my own food, and I wouldn't use any sort of pesticides on that, so I guess it would be organic.

As a teenager I worked on a smaller organic vegetable farm and it was very apparent that the whole thing was way more environmentally friendly than the alternative, though I imagine it would vary farm by farm based on the philosophy of the farmers.

Guizmo

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #60 on: June 04, 2015, 10:51:42 AM »
Why is non-GMO a "benefit"?

It's a benefit if you don't understand science.

Yeah like science has never been wrong. Not too long ago many scientist thought that leaded gas was safe for humans.

The reason science works is that it uses the best known evidence at the time to draw conclusions.  If new evidence is brought forward, the conclusion is revised.

Could science be wrong about GMOs?  Sure, there's an outside possibility of anything.  To date there exists no evidence that genetically modified food is more dangerous that regular food though (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601831-little-state-could-kneecap-biotech-industry-vermont-v-science, http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10977/safety-of-genetically-engineered-foods-approaches-to-assessing-unintended-health#toc, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/, http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf, http://www.genetics.org/content/188/1/11.long).  Believing otherwise is a leap of faith based on opinion, not valid data.

Trying to use the fact that science corrects its mistakes as an indicator that we should ignore the best scientific information is a facile argument.

Skepticism in science is healthy and leads to progress. I also think that lay people can be skeptical of current science even if we can't ourselves test our hypotheses. That should not be exclusive to scientist.

GuitarStv

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #61 on: June 04, 2015, 11:18:59 AM »
Why is non-GMO a "benefit"?

It's a benefit if you don't understand science.

Yeah like science has never been wrong. Not too long ago many scientist thought that leaded gas was safe for humans.

The reason science works is that it uses the best known evidence at the time to draw conclusions.  If new evidence is brought forward, the conclusion is revised.

Could science be wrong about GMOs?  Sure, there's an outside possibility of anything.  To date there exists no evidence that genetically modified food is more dangerous that regular food though (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601831-little-state-could-kneecap-biotech-industry-vermont-v-science, http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10977/safety-of-genetically-engineered-foods-approaches-to-assessing-unintended-health#toc, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/, http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf, http://www.genetics.org/content/188/1/11.long).  Believing otherwise is a leap of faith based on opinion, not valid data.

Trying to use the fact that science corrects its mistakes as an indicator that we should ignore the best scientific information is a facile argument.

Skepticism in science is healthy and leads to progress. I also think that lay people can be skeptical of current science even if we can't ourselves test our hypotheses. That should not be exclusive to scientist.

Absolutely.  Skepticism leads to questions, then you need to look at the data to find answers to your questions.  Just being skeptical without legitimately looking into an issue leads to very bad decisions though.  A lot of foolishness (anti-vaccine hysteria, climate change denial, and homeopathy, etc.) is directly linked to skepticism without research.

LSK

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #62 on: June 04, 2015, 11:26:10 AM »
If there is one thing I learned from this thread, then it would be, that without a clearly defined context, it makes little sense to discuss this at all.
What can be labelled "organic" and which regulations that follow with such labels sounds vastly different from the US or Canada to Denmark. I think it might be difficult to discuss this even in a European perspective, as there are different, country-specific labelling schemes and  regulations just within the EU.

Still my personal reason for (often) buying organic is often linked to animal-welfare when we're talking about animal products like meats/eggs/dairy. Vegetables I am a little less likely to buy organic, but even then there are many factors besides it being organic or not - like where and under which regulations it is produced and the price of course. I try to buy local products more often than organic as well, if possible.

forummm

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #63 on: June 04, 2015, 02:45:52 PM »
Food contains DNA now?  Between this and all the dihydrogen monoxide in water I don't know what to do . . .

I prefer to call it by it's scarier name, hydroxy acid.  Or is is acid hydroxide?  It's an acid and a base!

You guys joke, but dihydrogen monoxide is a serious issue. California is having a serious problem with it and it's going to cost billions to deal with. It's a leading cause of asphyxia, corrosion, and can cause severe burns. It causes billions of dollars in property damage every year.

Ambergris

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #64 on: June 04, 2015, 04:06:32 PM »
Why is non-GMO a "benefit"?

It's a benefit if you don't understand science.

Yeah like science has never been wrong. Not too long ago many scientist thought that leaded gas was safe for humans.

The reason science works is that it uses the best known evidence at the time to draw conclusions.  If new evidence is brought forward, the conclusion is revised.

Could science be wrong about GMOs?  Sure, there's an outside possibility of anything.  To date there exists no evidence that genetically modified food is more dangerous that regular food though (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601831-little-state-could-kneecap-biotech-industry-vermont-v-science, http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10977/safety-of-genetically-engineered-foods-approaches-to-assessing-unintended-health#toc, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/, http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf, http://www.genetics.org/content/188/1/11.long).  Believing otherwise is a leap of faith based on opinion, not valid data.

Trying to use the fact that science corrects its mistakes as an indicator that we should ignore the best scientific information is a facile argument.

Skepticism in science is healthy and leads to progress. I also think that lay people can be skeptical of current science even if we can't ourselves test our hypotheses. That should not be exclusive to scientist.

Absolutely.  Skepticism leads to questions, then you need to look at the data to find answers to your questions.  Just being skeptical without legitimately looking into an issue leads to very bad decisions though.  A lot of foolishness (anti-vaccine hysteria, climate change denial, and homeopathy, etc.) is directly linked to skepticism without research.

You know, I'm not so sure. On what grounds or using what methods are the lay people supposed to do research that challenges scientific results? Lay people can certainly check that claims are supported by properly cited sources, and that sources actually say what they are claimed to say. But how does a lay person evaluate a scientific study? For that matter, most of them don't (and can't) understand what constitutes a proper or reliable citation. For the most part, it's better for lay people to trust the scientific community to do this stuff, just like they trust certified utility workers to fix downed electric lines and board-certified surgeons to perform operations. The scientific community does its own internal fact checking, and that is going to have to be enough. Climate change denial, autism and vaccines, anti-GMOs, diet weirdness and all the other silliness occurs precisely when regular people try and "fix" science with their "research".

Lay people who want to check what the best current scientific consensus is should go to the large scale organizations that represent the relevant scientific community.

Helvegen

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #65 on: June 04, 2015, 04:37:22 PM »
I don't go out of my way to buy organic. Most of whatever I buy is incidental - Costco only had this item in organic or somehow, someway, it is cheaper to buy a particular kind of item organic, usually as a loss leader or in the clearance bin.

My only concern about GMOs is patent trolling. Otherwise, I don't care.

GuitarStv

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #66 on: June 04, 2015, 04:59:26 PM »
Why is non-GMO a "benefit"?

It's a benefit if you don't understand science.

Yeah like science has never been wrong. Not too long ago many scientist thought that leaded gas was safe for humans.

The reason science works is that it uses the best known evidence at the time to draw conclusions.  If new evidence is brought forward, the conclusion is revised.

Could science be wrong about GMOs?  Sure, there's an outside possibility of anything.  To date there exists no evidence that genetically modified food is more dangerous that regular food though (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601831-little-state-could-kneecap-biotech-industry-vermont-v-science, http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10977/safety-of-genetically-engineered-foods-approaches-to-assessing-unintended-health#toc, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/, http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf, http://www.genetics.org/content/188/1/11.long).  Believing otherwise is a leap of faith based on opinion, not valid data.

Trying to use the fact that science corrects its mistakes as an indicator that we should ignore the best scientific information is a facile argument.

Skepticism in science is healthy and leads to progress. I also think that lay people can be skeptical of current science even if we can't ourselves test our hypotheses. That should not be exclusive to scientist.

Absolutely.  Skepticism leads to questions, then you need to look at the data to find answers to your questions.  Just being skeptical without legitimately looking into an issue leads to very bad decisions though.  A lot of foolishness (anti-vaccine hysteria, climate change denial, and homeopathy, etc.) is directly linked to skepticism without research.

You know, I'm not so sure. On what grounds or using what methods are the lay people supposed to do research that challenges scientific results? Lay people can certainly check that claims are supported by properly cited sources, and that sources actually say what they are claimed to say. But how does a lay person evaluate a scientific study? For that matter, most of them don't (and can't) understand what constitutes a proper or reliable citation. For the most part, it's better for lay people to trust the scientific community to do this stuff, just like they trust certified utility workers to fix downed electric lines and board-certified surgeons to perform operations. The scientific community does its own internal fact checking, and that is going to have to be enough. Climate change denial, autism and vaccines, anti-GMOs, diet weirdness and all the other silliness occurs precisely when regular people try and "fix" science with their "research".

Lay people who want to check what the best current scientific consensus is should go to the large scale organizations that represent the relevant scientific community.

I don't advocate blindly accepting what an authority tells you as a general rule.  If you choose to remain stupid about something though, that is probably your only valid recourse.  The better solution lies in educating yourself to at least a moderate level of competence in the area that concerns you.

Eric

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #67 on: June 04, 2015, 06:58:58 PM »
Is deferring to experts the same as accepting authority?  What authority do research scientists really have anyway?  I would view those as separate things.

sser

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #68 on: June 04, 2015, 10:32:19 PM »

When I make a purchase, i'm voting for the kind of world I want--that's how I think of spending, anyway. I don't want an unrecognizable world with an unstable environment, an unpredictable food supply, and the political instability that accompanies that. To me, supporting sustainable farming practices when I make my food purchases is all part of that bigger picture.


I think that this is my main motivation, too. If possible, I'll go for locally grown, fair trade, or other products that support social responsibility / sustainable practices. Not exactly Mustachian in some ways, but it aligns with my values. Of course, the methodology changes as I learn more, so I love to see threads like this.

On GMOs, I am more against corporate practices and how they affect small farmers. It is also hard to really know the long-term affects on both the environment and how our bodies will adapt to them. 

Also, honey bees. Crop pollinators and producers of one of my favorite things. The population is declining, with pesticides as a likely culprit (along with weather and pests). I know organics can use some pesticides, but it sounds like they have less of an environmental impact.

Every bit helps?

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2015, 08:57:29 AM »
My problem with this statement:

"Lay people who want to check what the best current scientific consensus is should go to the large scale organizations that represent the relevant scientific community"

is that the "large scale organizations" are often in the pocket or otherwise controlled by a lobby or special interest group trying to protect the product being researched.  As an example, I wouldn't trust a study paid for by Monsanto.  I also absolutely do not believe that government agencies have our best interests at heart.  It is all political and what group donate to whose campaign.

I will read with interest all studies published by major universities and health care centers, however, as an example.

beltim

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #70 on: June 05, 2015, 09:37:38 AM »
My problem with this statement:
I also absolutely do not believe that government agencies have our best interests at heart.  It is all political and what group donate to whose campaign.

This assumes a level of political control that's frankly unbelievable.  There's about 7,000 political appointees in the federal government, most of whom work in the White House.  There's ~3,000 full-time political appointees outside the White House.  This compares to about 4 million total federal employees (including all 3 branches of government plus the military).  Most people who work in the government have no significant interaction with political appointees - and one of the strengths of our personnel system is that it's difficult to fire federal employees without cause.

How, exactly, do you think there's such widescale political pressure on government scientists?

4alpacas

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #71 on: June 05, 2015, 09:50:41 AM »

monarda

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #72 on: June 05, 2015, 10:14:19 AM »
Thanks for posting that, 4alpacas. As I was reading I was thinking of posting the same graphic.
There's a lot of bad science that has been distributed and believed! by intelligent people, who trust these 'studies'. There's an especially bad one from MIT that has really done a lot of damage.

I have made numerous GMO plants for my research, and in fact, my students this past semester made their own (it's EASY!) so they could understand the process.  BOY were their misconceptions, even in my advanced science class.

Back to the original topic- I think I would rather put my money toward local than toward organic. Many local farmers (at least in our area) are basically organic, even if not certified organic. I don't care so much about the label and the certification. I do want to stay away from factory farmed animal products. That doesn't always cost more.  My concerns are more related to carbon footprint (food miles and minimize red meat- which is really bad for the planet),  environment (e.g. overuse of fertilizer, overfishing), and animal welfare (happy chickens), than health issues. Wash your vegetables carefully. Grow a garden and feed your baby what you want.

DeltaBond

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #73 on: June 05, 2015, 10:15:19 AM »
As a teenager I worked on a smaller organic vegetable farm and it was very apparent that the whole thing was way more environmentally friendly than the alternative, though I imagine it would vary farm by farm based on the philosophy of the farmers.

You witnessed something environmentally friendly, but what is the alternative you're referring to?  Something you witnessed first hand?

Zikoris

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #74 on: June 05, 2015, 10:40:30 AM »
As a teenager I worked on a smaller organic vegetable farm and it was very apparent that the whole thing was way more environmentally friendly than the alternative, though I imagine it would vary farm by farm based on the philosophy of the farmers.

You witnessed something environmentally friendly, but what is the alternative you're referring to?  Something you witnessed first hand?

The alternative being dousing the fields with pesticides and fertilizers, causing runoff into the streams and cause all kinds of problems. Also things like crop dusting being a bit off (due to winds or bad piloting or whatever) and killing off unintended vegetation in addition to the weeds in the field (like a neighbouring house's garden).

I like the concept of GMOs for things like making things more nutritious, but in practice the technology seems to be mostly used to make things like canola resistant to pesticides and herbicides, allowing farmers to use a lot more of them to kill weeds and pests rather than doing the more environmentally friendly alternatives like crop rotation, etc. I think MORE AND MORE PESTICIDES is the wrong direction for farming to go, which seems to be the direction GMOs are taking it.

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #75 on: June 05, 2015, 10:56:12 AM »
As a teenager I worked on a smaller organic vegetable farm and it was very apparent that the whole thing was way more environmentally friendly than the alternative, though I imagine it would vary farm by farm based on the philosophy of the farmers.

You witnessed something environmentally friendly, but what is the alternative you're referring to?  Something you witnessed first hand?

The alternative being dousing the fields with pesticides and fertilizers, causing runoff into the streams and cause all kinds of problems. Also things like crop dusting being a bit off (due to winds or bad piloting or whatever) and killing off unintended vegetation in addition to the weeds in the field (like a neighbouring house's garden).

I like the concept of GMOs for things like making things more nutritious, but in practice the technology seems to be mostly used to make things like canola resistant to pesticides and herbicides, allowing farmers to use a lot more of them to kill weeds and pests rather than doing the more environmentally friendly alternatives like crop rotation, etc. I think MORE AND MORE PESTICIDES is the wrong direction for farming to go, which seems to be the direction GMOs are taking it.

Organic farming does not use fertilizers or pesticides that runoff into our surface and ground water?

Cowtown2011

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #76 on: June 05, 2015, 11:32:12 AM »
Below is a link to a summary of an article on a family which switched from conventional food to organic. Key take away, their pesticide levels as measured by blood tests wa significantly lowered. The one main direct health benefit as mentioned earlier, is the lower amount of pesticides ingested by the consumer.

http://www.treehugger.com/family/swedes-show-how-eating-organic-nearly-eliminates-your-pesticide-load.html

I love the banter on GMO's. My take is that they are seeds designed to maximize profit for the seed companies which produce the chemicals which can be sprayed on those very seeds. The business model is fabulous for creating a dependent customer and generating profits. Is it a gain for the farmer, not likely, most don't make enough to support themselves without employment off the farm. Organic growers (non-gmo) tend to earn more than their non conventional counterparts as per the study results noted below.

The study reporting this newfound economic incentive for organics was just published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Its mission was to analyze the “financial competitiveness of organic farming on a global scale” by looking at 44 studies covering 55 crops grown in 14 countries on five continents – North America, Europe, Asia, Central America, and Australia.

The study concluded that organic farming is 22 to 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture
.

That's it from me on GMO's.

Full Disclosure: I eat 75%+ organic but for reasons which go beyound just the lower pesticide load.

Zikoris

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #77 on: June 05, 2015, 11:44:23 AM »
As a teenager I worked on a smaller organic vegetable farm and it was very apparent that the whole thing was way more environmentally friendly than the alternative, though I imagine it would vary farm by farm based on the philosophy of the farmers.

You witnessed something environmentally friendly, but what is the alternative you're referring to?  Something you witnessed first hand?

The alternative being dousing the fields with pesticides and fertilizers, causing runoff into the streams and cause all kinds of problems. Also things like crop dusting being a bit off (due to winds or bad piloting or whatever) and killing off unintended vegetation in addition to the weeds in the field (like a neighbouring house's garden).

I like the concept of GMOs for things like making things more nutritious, but in practice the technology seems to be mostly used to make things like canola resistant to pesticides and herbicides, allowing farmers to use a lot more of them to kill weeds and pests rather than doing the more environmentally friendly alternatives like crop rotation, etc. I think MORE AND MORE PESTICIDES is the wrong direction for farming to go, which seems to be the direction GMOs are taking it.

Organic farming does not use fertilizers or pesticides that runoff into our surface and ground water?

No one I worked on, nope. Like I said earlier, the environmental impact seems to depend greatly on the philosophy of the individual farmer. The farm I worked on used the "hire high school students and hand them hoes" method for removing weeds, and mostly used crop rotation, compost, and green manure for keeping the soil fertile.

GuitarStv

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #78 on: June 05, 2015, 11:48:22 AM »

http://www.treehugger.com/family/swedes-show-how-eating-organic-nearly-eliminates-your-pesticide-load.html

The best part of the article is where they demonstrate their commitment to health and well being:

Quote
They even found a brand of organic chewing tobacco (snus) for the father of the family.

:P


"No crazy chemicals for us please.  Now where's daddy's organic chaw . . . he's jonesin' for some mouth cancer!"

forummm

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #79 on: June 05, 2015, 07:25:51 PM »
Below is a link to a summary of an article on a family which switched from conventional food to organic. Key take away, their pesticide levels as measured by blood tests wa significantly lowered. The one main direct health benefit as mentioned earlier, is the lower amount of pesticides ingested by the consumer.

http://www.treehugger.com/family/swedes-show-how-eating-organic-nearly-eliminates-your-pesticide-load.html

I love the banter on GMO's. My take is that they are seeds designed to maximize profit for the seed companies which produce the chemicals which can be sprayed on those very seeds. The business model is fabulous for creating a dependent customer and generating profits. Is it a gain for the farmer, not likely, most don't make enough to support themselves without employment off the farm. Organic growers (non-gmo) tend to earn more than their non conventional counterparts as per the study results noted below.

The study reporting this newfound economic incentive for organics was just published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Its mission was to analyze the “financial competitiveness of organic farming on a global scale” by looking at 44 studies covering 55 crops grown in 14 countries on five continents – North America, Europe, Asia, Central America, and Australia.

The study concluded that organic farming is 22 to 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture
.

That's it from me on GMO's.

Full Disclosure: I eat 75%+ organic but for reasons which go beyound just the lower pesticide load.

GMO crops frequently have the nice feature where they don't produce viable seeds. So you have to go pay Monsanto again next year, whatever price they ask, for your seeds, instead of saving your seeds from the prior year's crop as with normal plants.

forummm

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #80 on: June 05, 2015, 07:29:10 PM »
My problem with this statement:

"Lay people who want to check what the best current scientific consensus is should go to the large scale organizations that represent the relevant scientific community"

is that the "large scale organizations" are often in the pocket or otherwise controlled by a lobby or special interest group trying to protect the product being researched.  As an example, I wouldn't trust a study paid for by Monsanto.  I also absolutely do not believe that government agencies have our best interests at heart.  It is all political and what group donate to whose campaign.

I will read with interest all studies published by major universities and health care centers, however, as an example.

Some studies published by major universities and health care centers are paid for or financially supported by drug companies or other corporate interests.

monarda

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #81 on: June 05, 2015, 08:40:29 PM »
Below is a link to a summary of an article on a family which switched from conventional food to organic. Key take away, their pesticide levels as measured by blood tests wa significantly lowered. The one main direct health benefit as mentioned earlier, is the lower amount of pesticides ingested by the consumer.

http://www.treehugger.com/family/swedes-show-how-eating-organic-nearly-eliminates-your-pesticide-load.html

I love the banter on GMO's. My take is that they are seeds designed to maximize profit for the seed companies which produce the chemicals which can be sprayed on those very seeds. The business model is fabulous for creating a dependent customer and generating profits. Is it a gain for the farmer, not likely, most don't make enough to support themselves without employment off the farm. Organic growers (non-gmo) tend to earn more than their non conventional counterparts as per the study results noted below.

The study reporting this newfound economic incentive for organics was just published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Its mission was to analyze the “financial competitiveness of organic farming on a global scale” by looking at 44 studies covering 55 crops grown in 14 countries on five continents – North America, Europe, Asia, Central America, and Australia.

The study concluded that organic farming is 22 to 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture
.

That's it from me on GMO's.

Full Disclosure: I eat 75%+ organic but for reasons which go beyound just the lower pesticide load.

GMO crops frequently have the nice feature where they don't produce viable seeds. So you have to go pay Monsanto again next year, whatever price they ask, for your seeds, instead of saving your seeds from the prior year's crop as with normal plants.

Lots of misinformation and misconceptions here.

No, not normal plants. Heirloom varieties of certain plants.  Seed companies are good at producing seed.  It's great that gardeners and small farmers grow varieties and save seed. But many small growers actually find that seed is not expensive. It's the least of their expenses. I talk regularly with small sustainable aquaponic growers and they don't save seed. It's not worth their time.

Many crops are hybrids, and those seeds (even if not GMO) also need to be bought every year.

And sterile or terminator GMO traits/seeds are a myth. If you make statements like this please check your sources before doing so.
https://gmoanswers.com/ask/i-keep-reading-about-how-monsantos-seeds-and-other-gm-seeds-become-sterile-and-unusable-farmers


forummm

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #82 on: June 05, 2015, 09:41:26 PM »
Below is a link to a summary of an article on a family which switched from conventional food to organic. Key take away, their pesticide levels as measured by blood tests wa significantly lowered. The one main direct health benefit as mentioned earlier, is the lower amount of pesticides ingested by the consumer.

http://www.treehugger.com/family/swedes-show-how-eating-organic-nearly-eliminates-your-pesticide-load.html

I love the banter on GMO's. My take is that they are seeds designed to maximize profit for the seed companies which produce the chemicals which can be sprayed on those very seeds. The business model is fabulous for creating a dependent customer and generating profits. Is it a gain for the farmer, not likely, most don't make enough to support themselves without employment off the farm. Organic growers (non-gmo) tend to earn more than their non conventional counterparts as per the study results noted below.

The study reporting this newfound economic incentive for organics was just published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Its mission was to analyze the “financial competitiveness of organic farming on a global scale” by looking at 44 studies covering 55 crops grown in 14 countries on five continents – North America, Europe, Asia, Central America, and Australia.

The study concluded that organic farming is 22 to 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture
.

That's it from me on GMO's.

Full Disclosure: I eat 75%+ organic but for reasons which go beyound just the lower pesticide load.

GMO crops frequently have the nice feature where they don't produce viable seeds. So you have to go pay Monsanto again next year, whatever price they ask, for your seeds, instead of saving your seeds from the prior year's crop as with normal plants.

Lots of misinformation and misconceptions here.

No, not normal plants. Heirloom varieties of certain plants.  Seed companies are good at producing seed.  It's great that gardeners and small farmers grow varieties and save seed. But many small growers actually find that seed is not expensive. It's the least of their expenses. I talk regularly with small sustainable aquaponic growers and they don't save seed. It's not worth their time.

Many crops are hybrids, and those seeds (even if not GMO) also need to be bought every year.

And sterile or terminator GMO traits/seeds are a myth. If you make statements like this please check your sources before doing so.
https://gmoanswers.com/ask/i-keep-reading-about-how-monsantos-seeds-and-other-gm-seeds-become-sterile-and-unusable-farmers



You could be right. This idea, whether true or untrue, is all over the place. I see Monsanto's 1999 statement saying they won't do it (but with a bunch of stuff in it that I don't understand well enough to know if there are loopholes in the language). And lots of places saying it's true, and lots of places saying the opposite. I don't know for sure, but I think what you say is most likely correct.

Ricky

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #83 on: June 05, 2015, 11:02:10 PM »
Why is non-GMO a "benefit"?

It's a benefit if you don't understand science.

Yeah like science has never been wrong. Not too long ago many scientist thought that leaded gas was safe for humans.

The reason science works is that it uses the best known evidence at the time to draw conclusions.  If new evidence is brought forward, the conclusion is revised.

Could science be wrong about GMOs?  Sure, there's an outside possibility of anything.  To date there exists no evidence that genetically modified food is more dangerous that regular food though (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601831-little-state-could-kneecap-biotech-industry-vermont-v-science, http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10977/safety-of-genetically-engineered-foods-approaches-to-assessing-unintended-health#toc, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/, http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf, http://www.genetics.org/content/188/1/11.long).  Believing otherwise is a leap of faith based on opinion, not valid data.

Trying to use the fact that science corrects its mistakes as an indicator that we should ignore the best scientific information is a facile argument.

Skepticism in science is healthy and leads to progress. I also think that lay people can be skeptical of current science even if we can't ourselves test our hypotheses. That should not be exclusive to scientist.

Absolutely.  Skepticism leads to questions, then you need to look at the data to find answers to your questions.  Just being skeptical without legitimately looking into an issue leads to very bad decisions though.  A lot of foolishness (anti-vaccine hysteria, climate change denial, and homeopathy, etc.) is directly linked to skepticism without research.

Well said, and oh so true.

When I think organic I think of veggies and fruits for some reason, not near, and concerning pesticides, how does organic truly contain less pesticides? If you didn't use pesticides, there would be spots and holes all in your produce.

ragesinggoddess

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #84 on: June 06, 2015, 07:59:03 AM »
Quote
What is worse, autism or cancer from pesticides?? That is like when you are voting and you have to chose a candidate who is the least likely corrupted

What a hateful thing to say about people with autism!

fb132

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #85 on: June 06, 2015, 08:24:13 AM »
Quote
What is worse, autism or cancer from pesticides?? That is like when you are voting and you have to chose a candidate who is the least likely corrupted

What a hateful thing to say about people with autism!

I was being sarcastic,but I guess it came out wrong, sorry if I offended you.

Kris

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #86 on: June 06, 2015, 09:15:09 AM »
Below is a link to a summary of an article on a family which switched from conventional food to organic. Key take away, their pesticide levels as measured by blood tests wa significantly lowered. The one main direct health benefit as mentioned earlier, is the lower amount of pesticides ingested by the consumer.

http://www.treehugger.com/family/swedes-show-how-eating-organic-nearly-eliminates-your-pesticide-load.html

I love the banter on GMO's. My take is that they are seeds designed to maximize profit for the seed companies which produce the chemicals which can be sprayed on those very seeds. The business model is fabulous for creating a dependent customer and generating profits. Is it a gain for the farmer, not likely, most don't make enough to support themselves without employment off the farm. Organic growers (non-gmo) tend to earn more than their non conventional counterparts as per the study results noted below.

The study reporting this newfound economic incentive for organics was just published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Its mission was to analyze the “financial competitiveness of organic farming on a global scale” by looking at 44 studies covering 55 crops grown in 14 countries on five continents – North America, Europe, Asia, Central America, and Australia.

The study concluded that organic farming is 22 to 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture
.

That's it from me on GMO's.

Full Disclosure: I eat 75%+ organic but for reasons which go beyound just the lower pesticide load.

GMO crops frequently have the nice feature where they don't produce viable seeds. So you have to go pay Monsanto again next year, whatever price they ask, for your seeds, instead of saving your seeds from the prior year's crop as with normal plants.

Lots of misinformation and misconceptions here.

No, not normal plants. Heirloom varieties of certain plants.  Seed companies are good at producing seed.  It's great that gardeners and small farmers grow varieties and save seed. But many small growers actually find that seed is not expensive. It's the least of their expenses. I talk regularly with small sustainable aquaponic growers and they don't save seed. It's not worth their time.

Many crops are hybrids, and those seeds (even if not GMO) also need to be bought every year.

And sterile or terminator GMO traits/seeds are a myth. If you make statements like this please check your sources before doing so.
https://gmoanswers.com/ask/i-keep-reading-about-how-monsantos-seeds-and-other-gm-seeds-become-sterile-and-unusable-farmers

Thank you for this link. Very interesting.  I am not anti-GMO, and recently got into a heated debate with a very intelligent friend who is virulently anti-GMO.  The myth of sterile seeds figured prominently in that discussion. I had no idea it wasn't true.

monarda

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #87 on: June 06, 2015, 10:05:59 PM »
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 10:18:16 PM by monarda »

Kris

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #88 on: June 08, 2015, 06:08:11 AM »
If you need more material for debating anti-GMO types, GMOanswers.com is a good source.
Another good general site is the geneticliteracyproject.org

Biofortified.org is another good one.  Here's some from Bill Nye
http://www.biofortified.org/2015/04/bill-nye-science-guy-and-gmos-oh-my/

Also check out my former colleague Kevin Folta's page: either his blog http://kfolta.blogspot.com/ or twitter @kevinfolta
an interview:
http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/03/kevin-folta-interview-yes-im-a-shill-not-for-big-but-for-science/

I have a good compilation on the facebook group page for my class last semester, too. Was one of the topics we covered in depth.

here are some good ones
http://theconversation.com/not-all-gmo-plants-are-created-equally-its-the-trait-not-the-method-thats-important-39532

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/28/we-re-paranoid-about-gmo-foods-because-of-pseudo-science.html?via=desktop&source=facebook

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/study-reveals-wide-opinion-differences-scientists-general-public/#

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-gmo-debate-5-things-to-stop-arguing/2014/10/27/e82bbc10-5a3e-11e4-b812-38518ae74c67_story.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/gmo-common-ground-where-supporters-and-opponents-agree/2013/11/11/b91efcdc-47cc-11e3-bf0c-cebf37c6f484_story.html

And finally, some cautions about bad science and the damage it can do
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tamar-haspel/condemning-monsanto-with-_b_3162694.html

Thanks for the reading materials!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #89 on: June 08, 2015, 08:04:38 AM »
It really depends.

If you read technical farming manuals, it's very clear an "organic" certified farm can be just as abusive to the environment and its workers as a conventional farm. In some cases, organic farming can even be worse (two examples: overuse of mechanical tillage to control weeds and the fact that many organic pesticides are more broadly toxic).

The best solution is to buy as much as possible from local farms, ideally ones you can vet. Most farmers are more than happy to talk your ears off about their methods. Many don't bother with organic certification because of the expense and paperwork overhead, but farm in very sustainable fashion. Even in my cold climate, you can buy local produce all 12 months of the year. In the cold months, it comes from root cellar stored crops or from hoop house operations.

Sometimes local costs more, sometimes it doesn't. It almost universally tastes better because it is FRESH. It lasts longer too, so there's usually much less potential for waste.

I try as much as possible to eat within our local biosphere, but the tastes of the rest of my family do require compromises. Eating seasonally is at first a challenge to adjust, but once you do it's actually a really nice rhythm to keep.

When it comes to meat and animal products, organic is meaningless. Other labels like "free range" and "cage free" are equally meaningless unless you personally vet the farmer. Vetting isn't hard at all, since meat is best bought 1-2x a year in bulk, so it's not a constant transaction.

Comments up thread about red meat are really misinformed. Beef (and other ruminants) raised in a rotational grazing pasture model are absolutely sustainable. The vast majority of US pasture is marginal for other production, so you're raising human calories on non-human calorie producing land. Chicken is actually the least sustainable meat product out there since very few breeds can fatten 100% on pasture. Grain is almost always required as supplemental feed, whereas ruminants can be fattened 100% on pasture and hay.

Pork is a mixed bag, depending on the farmer. Usually pastured pork is roughly 50/50 forage and grain, but pork CAN be fattened on pasture with proper breed and management. Hard to find in US, or at least in my area. At the same time, pigs dress out very efficiently compared to other large animals, so pork is one of my favorite sustainable sources of protein.

Bob W

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #90 on: June 08, 2015, 08:49:11 AM »
Definitely no GMO.  I would vote to have it entirely removed from the food supply like in most rational countries.  This isn't your fathers GMO. 

music lover

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #91 on: June 08, 2015, 09:50:18 AM »
Definitely no GMO.  I would vote to have it entirely removed from the food supply like in most rational countries.  This isn't your fathers GMO.

Yeah...who needs disease and drought resistant crops, increased yields, or increased nutrients?? All those things are highly overrated.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #92 on: June 08, 2015, 09:52:46 AM »
Definitely no GMO.  I would vote to have it entirely removed from the food supply like in most rational countries.  This isn't your fathers GMO.

There just isn't a good reason for this.

music lover

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #93 on: June 08, 2015, 12:41:44 PM »
Definitely no GMO.  I would vote to have it entirely removed from the food supply like in most rational countries.  This isn't your fathers GMO.

There just isn't a good reason for this.

When someone makes a blanket statement like that, you can usually be sure that it's not based on any real knowledge of the topic.

ragesinggoddess

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #94 on: June 08, 2015, 12:49:32 PM »

Quote
I was being sarcastic,but I guess it came out wrong, sorry if I offended you.

Gotcha. Other people have said the same thing in seriousness so it's hard to tell the difference!

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #95 on: June 08, 2015, 01:22:08 PM »
I used to be strongly anti-gmo, but now I have changed my thinking a bit.  We now own an organic farm that is sandwiched in between endless field of corn and soybeans.  The spraying that I used to be afraid of has proven to be little of an issue as it is done so infrequently.  I had more of an issue with people in town and their constant use of herbicides and pesticides.  Also, my husbands job has him working inside the walls of companies like Monsanto.  These companies are not nearly as evil as I feared.  My biggest issue at this time is with the so called "suicide" seeds that cannot be replanted.  This binds the farmer to the seed company and could cause issues with food security.  In the grocery stores, there is not much reason to buy organic over non organic.  The labels don't mean much, especially when it comes to animal products.  I do sometimes find the organic varieties to be tastier.

For my own family, we try to first and foremost raise and grow our own food.  For any meat that we outsource, we buy from a local grass-fed farm.  The taste is significantly better and there is less of an environmental impact.  We try to buy our produce in season from ALDI, which is also when it is cheapest.  We do not buy organic.

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #96 on: June 08, 2015, 05:43:25 PM »
To the original question, I happened to just be reading an article that addresses this point: Is organic food worth the higher price? Many experts say no
There are some omissions and incomplete details, but it seemed like a well written and useful article, for the popular press.

I am concerned about the impact many farming methods have on the environment, surrounding water, people who work the farms and the animals we raise for meat, but I'd be skeptical of any claims that suggest a difference to consumer health, at least from consuming organic vs conventional crops. I do feel the environmental impact issue is better address at the regulation level then through trying to buy organic, but perhaps it's a start (I don't know enough about this issue).
So we don't go out of our way to buy organic, and I have no problem at all with GMO crops, in fact I think GMO and other technologies might be a great way to reduce the over reliance on pesticides especially, while maintaining economic growing conditions. If you could find me a label that let me buy food bought with less pesticide and fertilizer use, using GMO as needed, I'd be all over that. Organic isn't that label.

We do try, somewhat, to limit our meat consumption based on raising/living conditions.. then again, if we really cared about animal welfare maybe we wouldn't be eating them in the first place, so perhaps that's a moot point too :)

As other people have said, our best produce buying experience has probably been with a CSA. It was relatively cheap, very convenient, and the produce was delicious. I think the difference in taste was noticeable (and I don't have the finest palette) because it was hyper local, and the only things being sent to you was what the farmer thought was the best to harvest at that time.. it wasn't defined by just getting stuff out to the wholesaler and getting some bulk rate.
The communication with farm was also excellent. When we initially signed up, it was an organic farm.. part of the time through, they decided there was some kind of new mulch or something that they wanted to use, which hadn't yet worked it's way into the organic regulations. They thought it was the best alternative out there, and communicated that they were purposely giving up their organic certification to use it. I thought that was great.

monarda

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #97 on: June 08, 2015, 10:48:15 PM »

If you could find me a label that let me buy food bought with less pesticide and fertilizer use, using GMO as needed, I'd be all over that. Organic isn't that label.
...

CSA.
I think the difference in taste was noticeable (and I don't have the finest palette) because it was hyper local, and the only things being sent to you was what the farmer thought was the best to harvest at that time.. it wasn't defined by just getting stuff out to the wholesaler and getting some bulk rate.

Well put!

CSA= fresh and local, harvested when perfectly ripe,  but also, you're likely noticing that your farmers are using some better tasting varieties that might not do as well when produced on a large scale.

I've been a CSA member for close to 20 years. We've stopped the last two years only because we get sufficient veggies from friends' gardens.

asauer

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #98 on: June 09, 2015, 05:55:13 AM »
I work in medical research and actually there is some evidence that buying organic veggies doesn't have a ton of impact.  However, buying organic fruits does have health impacts (why one and not the other?  we don't know yet- some theorize it has to do with the way we metabolize sugar).  Also, buying pasture raised, grass fed meats also makes has a statistically significant impact on risk for colon cancer, prostate cancer and certain cardiovascular diseases.

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Re: Organic food... Worth the price?
« Reply #99 on: June 18, 2015, 12:23:13 PM »
My problem with this statement:

"Lay people who want to check what the best current scientific consensus is should go to the large scale organizations that represent the relevant scientific community"

is that the "large scale organizations" are often in the pocket or otherwise controlled by a lobby or special interest group trying to protect the product being researched.  As an example, I wouldn't trust a study paid for by Monsanto. 

I meant things like the NAS, the AAAS, AMA (for medicine) or similar (there's lots of them; they vary in type from prestigious organizations where membership is a reward for being a really good scientist to being educational institutions). The usually give position statements on issues that represent the consensus of the relevant community. For example, here's the NAS popular publication (with the Royal Society, which is the UK version) on climate change: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/18730/climate-change-evidence-and-causes

Your concern about funding is irrelevant if the results have passed peer review for a respectable scientific journal. That means that the people most qualified to comment have determined that the experiments were performed correctly. The scientists would literally have to lie or distort their results for the papers not to be telling the truth. Doing this is absolute career suicide for any scientist. Period.

This "often in the pocket of [Monsanto-or-whoever]" claim is nonsense. These corporations don't (and can't afford to) fund most scientific research. Most scientific research is paid for by universities and government organizations.

Besides, I have no idea why you are so absolutely biased against Monsanto. They have motivation to not tell the whole truth, but occasionally they could (*gasp*) be right and there are quite serious costs to their lying too egregiously. This Monsanto/Big Pharma/Whatever Corporation-are-the-devil nonsense is another bit of leftie hippie sh*t we really need to stop because it verges on negative magical thinking. And I'm left-libertarian by persuasion.

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I also absolutely do not believe that government agencies have our best interests at heart.  It is all political and what group donate to whose campaign.

This totally depends on what those agencies rely on to make the calls and who is heading them. Last time I looked their members were not elected, and most are not even political appointees. Their members are usually qualified scientists and their opinions are usually based on research that is open to all. If, say, the FDA or whatever go straight against what the scientific consensus says about a particular area, you will hear about it. This is not generally the case; what usually happens is where the nature of the problem/drug/procedure/phenomenon is not yet fully understood, a call has to be made that some scientists might agree or disagree with. Government agencies tend to be quite conservative in this regard, if anything.

Much more important than any trivial bias in scientific results are the flaws in untutored human "reason". Homo sapiens is shockingly bad, among other things at probabilistic reasoning, confirming/disconfirming hypotheses and being ludicrously over-confident in their abilities. This is the best reason of all for lay people to distrust themselves (yes, I said it and it's true) and trust scientific research.

I should also add that "argument from authority" is only a deductive, not an inductive fallacy. Appropriate authorities/experts are excellent sources of reliable information. It is appropriate to trust them because you CANNOT DO BETTER YOURSELF.