Sunday, July 15, 2012

Why Organics Really Cost Less

An excerpt from an article called The Good Earth? On How We've Made the Environment Dangerous to Our Health, by Sandra Steingraber, PhD published in The Sun, Jan 2010:  

SS: "Our food becomes us; it becomes the bodies of my children: their muscles, blood, and brain tissue.  I put a high premium on that."
Q:  You've said that organic food is a bargain, even when it costs more than conventional produce. How so?
SS:  Because the price represents what the food really costs to grow.  Chemical-intensive -agriculture products cost a lot more than the dollars you hand over in the check-out lane.  When I pay less for food produced on industrial farms, I am really passing along to society the expense of higher insurance premiums, increased healthcare expenditures and more environmental clean-ups.  Other hidden costs of chemical-intensive agriculture include the death of pollinators, polluted waterways, poisoned farm workers, eroded topsoil, and a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico from runoff into the Mississippi River.  We are just handing these problems over to future generations to deal with."

"The old idea that you can't feed the world with organic farming is no longer true.  New evidence shows that organic farming yields are on par with those of conventional farming.  Today's organic farming is not like farming before the advent of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  It's not just letting the pests have their way with crops.   It's much more sophisticated.  Organic agriculture substitutes biological control mechanisms for the chemical control mechanisms that emerged out of World War II and the cold war."

"I think what will really win the day with organics isn't so much the pesticide issue but the local issue.  The amount of fossil fuel expended just to get a fifty calorie piece of lettuce on your plate is irrational.  The need for local food security also will drive the the U.S. towards organic local agriculture."

Eat Fresh.  Buy Local.  Choose Organic for the sake of all of us.

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