black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             
jtotheizzoe:

Last week’s reports that organic produce may not be more nutritious than conventional reminds us why oversimplified science may not be healthier for you.
The study (which was really a study of studies), didn’t find strong evidence that organic produce contained more of the good vitamins and stuff when compared to “conventionally grown”. The problem is that many news outlets didn’t look beyond that. Especially you, Gawker … “sham” is a strong word, eh?
The reasons people buy organic produce shouldn’t be limited to just getting an extra 5% of their folate. Unfortunately (as pointed out by thenoobyorker, thanks for the comment), that is precisely why many people buy organic, even though the numbers don’t hold up. It’s about reducing exposure to pesticides and other chemicals (whose long-term effects on our bodies we don’t fully undersand), it’s about supporting farming practices that are less harmful to the land and carry a smaller carbon footprint by not using chemical fertilizers, and it’s about reminding people to buy locally and in season, allowing produce to deliver its maximum goodness as evolution intended (not to mention supporting local farms).
So while you may not get a vitamin boost from the expensive carrots, there’s many other reasons that people may choose to buy them. If we aren’t careful with the science, we could miss them.
More at Boing Boing.

jtotheizzoe:

Last week’s reports that organic produce may not be more nutritious than conventional reminds us why oversimplified science may not be healthier for you.

The study (which was really a study of studies), didn’t find strong evidence that organic produce contained more of the good vitamins and stuff when compared to “conventionally grown”. The problem is that many news outlets didn’t look beyond that. Especially you, Gawker … “sham” is a strong word, eh?

The reasons people buy organic produce shouldn’t be limited to just getting an extra 5% of their folate. Unfortunately (as pointed out by thenoobyorker, thanks for the comment), that is precisely why many people buy organic, even though the numbers don’t hold up. It’s about reducing exposure to pesticides and other chemicals (whose long-term effects on our bodies we don’t fully undersand), it’s about supporting farming practices that are less harmful to the land and carry a smaller carbon footprint by not using chemical fertilizers, and it’s about reminding people to buy locally and in season, allowing produce to deliver its maximum goodness as evolution intended (not to mention supporting local farms).

So while you may not get a vitamin boost from the expensive carrots, there’s many other reasons that people may choose to buy them. If we aren’t careful with the science, we could miss them.

More at Boing Boing.

Roger Cohen: The Organic Fable | NYT
“Organic has long since become an ideology, the romantic back-to-nature obsession of an upper middle class able to afford it and oblivious, in their affluent narcissism, to the challenge of feeding a planet whose population will surge to 9 billion before the middle of the century and whose poor will get a lot more nutrients from the two regular carrots they can buy for the price of one organic carrot. […]

So I cheered this week when Stanford University concluded, after examining four decades of research, that fruits and vegetables labeled organic are, on average, no more nutritious than their cheaper conventional counterparts. The study also found that organic meats offered no obvious health advantages. And it found that organic food was not less likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E.coli.
The takeaway from the study could be summed up in two words: Organic, schmorganic. That’s been my feeling for a while.
Now let me say three nice things about the organic phenomenon. The first is that it reflects a growing awareness about diet that has spurred quality, small-scale local farming that had been at risk of disappearance.
The second is that even if it’s not better for you, organic farming is probably better for the environment because less soil, flora and fauna are contaminated by chemicals (although of course, without fertilizers, you have to use more land to grow the same amount of produce or feed the same amount of livestock.) So this is food that is better ecologically even if it is not better nutritionally.
The third is that the word organic — unlike other feel-good descriptions of food like “natural” — actually means something. Certification procedures in both the United States and Britain are strict. In the United States, organic food must meet standards ensuring that genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers, sewage and irradiation were not used in the food’s production. It must also be produced using methods that, according to the Department of Agriculture, “foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.”
Still, the organic ideology is an elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype. There is a niche for it, if you can afford to shop at Whole Foods, but the future is nonorganic.
To feed a planet of 9 billion people, we are going to need high yields not low yields; we are going to need genetically modified crops; we are going to need pesticides and fertilizers and other elements of the industrialized food processes that have led mankind to be better fed and live longer than at any time in history.”

Roger Cohen: The Organic Fable | NYT

Organic has long since become an ideology, the romantic back-to-nature obsession of an upper middle class able to afford it and oblivious, in their affluent narcissism, to the challenge of feeding a planet whose population will surge to 9 billion before the middle of the century and whose poor will get a lot more nutrients from the two regular carrots they can buy for the price of one organic carrot. […]

So I cheered this week when Stanford University concluded, after examining four decades of research, that fruits and vegetables labeled organic are, on average, no more nutritious than their cheaper conventional counterparts. The study also found that organic meats offered no obvious health advantages. And it found that organic food was not less likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E.coli.

The takeaway from the study could be summed up in two words: Organic, schmorganic. That’s been my feeling for a while.

Now let me say three nice things about the organic phenomenon. The first is that it reflects a growing awareness about diet that has spurred quality, small-scale local farming that had been at risk of disappearance.

The second is that even if it’s not better for you, organic farming is probably better for the environment because less soil, flora and fauna are contaminated by chemicals (although of course, without fertilizers, you have to use more land to grow the same amount of produce or feed the same amount of livestock.) So this is food that is better ecologically even if it is not better nutritionally.

The third is that the word organic — unlike other feel-good descriptions of food like “natural” — actually means something. Certification procedures in both the United States and Britain are strict. In the United States, organic food must meet standards ensuring that genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers, sewage and irradiation were not used in the food’s production. It must also be produced using methods that, according to the Department of Agriculture, “foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.”

Still, the organic ideology is an elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype. There is a niche for it, if you can afford to shop at Whole Foods, but the future is nonorganic.

To feed a planet of 9 billion people, we are going to need high yields not low yields; we are going to need genetically modified crops; we are going to need pesticides and fertilizers and other elements of the industrialized food processes that have led mankind to be better fed and live longer than at any time in history.”


Thirty years ago, the Rodale Institute set out to prove that organic farming methods work just as well as the conventional ones common at big farms across the country. The institute began the Farming Systems Trial, a data-driven project to compare the yields of organic and conventional wheat, soy, and corn crops. Its latest analysis shows that not only do organic yields match conventional crop loads, but organic methods do a better job of maintaining the health of a farm’s soil. 

Read on. (photo)

Thirty years ago, the Rodale Institute set out to prove that organic farming methods work just as well as the conventional ones common at big farms across the country. The institute began the Farming Systems Trial, a data-driven project to compare the yields of organic and conventional wheat, soy, and corn crops. Its latest analysis shows that not only do organic yields match conventional crop loads, but organic methods do a better job of maintaining the health of a farm’s soil. 

Read on. (photo)

Man Gave Company to Employees on His 81st Birthday

soxiam:

a lovely story that reminded me of another from the past. via the big pugh.

The headline alone is heartwarming enough of course, but when I realized the identity of the “man”, it hit home. His name is Bob Moore and he’s the owner of Portland’s Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. I’ve been buying his products for almost a decade and cannot bake without his flours. It’s one of those companies who has put Portland on the map with its business model and exceptional product line and it gives me yet another reason to be a proud Portlander.

Portland photographer, Jake Stangel, had “this desire to leave the urban environment, to ditch the computer and the phone”, so he contacted Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOF, as it’s more commonly known, links volunteers with organic farmers to “promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices.” WWOOF connected Stangel with a couple who operate an organic farm in Central Florida, where he spent two weeks learning how to work with his hands and till some land. Thankfully, he documented it all in Florida Farming.

Portland photographer, Jake Stangel, had “this desire to leave the urban environment, to ditch the computer and the phone”, so he contacted Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOF, as it’s more commonly known, links volunteers with organic farmers to “promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices.” WWOOF connected Stangel with a couple who operate an organic farm in Central Florida, where he spent two weeks learning how to work with his hands and till some land. Thankfully, he documented it all in Florida Farming.

©2011 Kateoplis