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Organic vs Conventional

It’s exciting to see the momentum that organic is having in mainstream consumption, but there are still too many people that make the “it’s too expensive” or “organic farming is inefficient” comments. The notion of organic (how nature intended) farming has been flipped on its head, making it the exception, when it’s actually the norm.

How did we get here?

Before World War II, there was no “organic farming”—just growing food for people to eat. Chemicals were not used in agriculture. They were used for manufacturing. Then, during World War II, more chemicals were produced—for the purpose of killing other humans and kill disease-carrying insects that were infecting our soldiers.

When the war ended, the storage of deadly chemicals was a dangerous and expensive problem that the big chemical companies needed to solve. Given that these chemicals were literally made to kill living organisms, scientists decided to use them to kill the life forms that were eating our food supplies. The results in the 1950’s were very favorable with increased production volumes and less damage from insects, rodents, etc. Over the years, more and more chemicals were developed to target unwanted organisms and to “feed” the crops that farmers were growing.

Through about 60 years, we’ve created a new “normal” for our food: cheap (usually due to subsidies) and chemical-laden. This has allowed people to make arguments against organic food as being overpriced and chemical-laden food as being the solution to feed a growing population. To me, it’s tantamount to saying that anyone who exercises should take steroids to be more muscular, faster, and stronger. Who cares about the damage to your heart, liver, joint, brain, and tissues, look at those sweet biceps!

Organic practices don’t yield less. Conventional practices produce unnatural yields. As more people accept this reality, we can have a fighting chance of making decisions that consider the long-term impact on our people and our planet.

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