An Organic Green Revolution

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    Dec 24, 2008 4:53 AM GMT



    An Organic Green Revolution


    hey hey, found out I have till Jan 30th not Dec 30th to put the well grant in so happy about that, got pizza adn booze.. mm just saw this on Rodale's site. Just wanted to point out: 1:28, that's a high tunnel sorta, it's the same thing we're going to grow everything in. At 1:50 is Jeff Moyer,the big boss farmer at Rodale and also my lust bunny...mmm *lick lick*

    http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/rfr
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    Dec 24, 2008 5:03 AM GMT
    Organic is good and all, but there is so much more to sustainable agriculture. A video from an organization that pushes organic and sponsored by organic food companies is like research showing cigarettes aren't that bad for you sponsored by Philip-Morris.

    I am not familiar with Rodale or their agenda, I just don't think organics is a silver bullet.
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    Dec 24, 2008 5:11 AM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidOrganic is good and all, but there is so much more to sustainable agriculture. A video from an organization that pushes organic and sponsored by organic food companies is like research showing cigarettes aren't that bad for you sponsored by Philip-Morris.

    I am not familiar with Rodale or their agenda, I just don't think organics is a silver bullet.


    The Rodale Institute is a research farm that has been pushing organic for 60 some odd years, back when it was hippie-fringe crap. They were pushing it before 'organic' was something you could buy in a store, before the little USDA label became a commodity.

    I don't know who all funds them, but I do know that the USDA NRCS is currently funding some of their projects. I think it was SARE who funded some of their no-till research... but anyway since you don't even know what the Rodale Institute is it's kinda crappy to be calling them a mouth piece of money-hungry slobs and akin to the cigarette industry.

    ..punk... *glare*
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    Dec 24, 2008 5:17 AM GMT
    yes, it is alike in that I am not likely to trust their presentation without verifying the facts.
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    Dec 24, 2008 12:22 PM GMT
    There is indeed a rise in interest in organic farming in the farms here. Vermiculture for instance is gaining rapid interest here.

    However, most of the farmers here (including my dad, we have a few cornfields and a banana/durian/mango orchard) have small to medium land holdings which just can not support organic farming, since most of the methods require large-scale farming or a significant initial investment to be effective. It has gained success here only where it is community supported (as vermicomposting is).

    Small-scale farmers still buy the chemicals and treated seeds because although more expensive it is less expensive immediately than organic farming which only shows gains after a while. Farming methods can't be changed overnight and our Department of Agriculture ain't helping either. Couple that with the fact that crops here are almost always rice, corn, and sugarcane with little variance. We are less suited to diversify crops than developed nations, lack of demand being the primary reason. We are more or less limited to a small range of exportable crops which makes organic farming less likely to take root here (unless it's with multinational companies like DOLE).

    I still think GMO's have potential though. Once you wrestle it out of control of the multinational companies liek Monsanto. Government funded research into GMO's and strains does have good results. Like our own International Rice Research Institute which has been steadily reasearching on the use of less chemicals after the environmentally disastrous IR8 cultivar. The strains developed by the Philippines' IRRI have benefited a lot of southeast asian nations and it's not commercial (as proven by the fact that even if we have IRRI, we import most of our rice from countries who are using rice strains developed here LOL tsk tsk). Then there is the Golden Rice research project too, which would indeed help developing countries combat malnutrition if it becomes more widespread.
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    Dec 24, 2008 12:49 PM GMT
    If you're really interested in the topic of sustainability, read Michael Pollan's books,"The Botany of Desire," "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food."

    He was on Bill Moyers' program recently:

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11282008/profile.html




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    Dec 24, 2008 12:54 PM GMT
    ObsceneWish saidIf you're really interested in the topic of sustainability, read Michael Pollan's books,"The Botany of Desire," "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food."

    He was on Bill Moyers' program recently:

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11282008/profile.html






    I love Pollan. I was a little surprised how open he was to Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture.
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    Dec 24, 2008 7:32 PM GMT
    Sedative saidThere is indeed a rise in interest in organic farming in the farms here. Vermiculture for instance is gaining rapid interest here.

    However, most of the farmers here (including my dad, we have a few cornfields and a banana/durian/mango orchard) have small to medium land holdings which just can not support organic farming, since most of the methods require large-scale farming or a significant initial investment to be effective. It has gained success here only where it is community supported (as vermicomposting is).

    Small-scale farmers still buy the chemicals and treated seeds because although more expensive it is less expensive immediately than organic farming which only shows gains after a while. Farming methods can't be changed overnight and our Department of Agriculture ain't helping either. Couple that with the fact that crops here are almost always rice, corn, and sugarcane with little variance. We are less suited to diversify crops than developed nations, lack of demand being the primary reason. We are more or less limited to a small range of exportable crops which makes organic farming less likely to take root here (unless it's with multinational companies like DOLE).

    I still think GMO's have potential though. Once you wrestle it out of control of the multinational companies liek Monsanto. Government funded research into GMO's and strains does have good results. Like our own International Rice Research Institute which has been steadily reasearching on the use of less chemicals after the environmentally disastrous IR8 cultivar. The strains developed by the Philippines' IRRI have benefited a lot of southeast asian nations and it's not commercial (as proven by the fact that even if we have IRRI, we import most of our rice from countries who are using rice strains developed here LOL tsk tsk). Then there is the Golden Rice research project too, which would indeed help developing countries combat malnutrition if it becomes more widespread.



    When I turn into a zombie, yours is the first brain I'm going to eat.
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    Dec 25, 2008 2:35 PM GMT
    I shall bathe in holy water in anticipation. icon_cool.gif
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    Dec 25, 2008 2:50 PM GMT
    As a student of agriscience, I have studied both conventional and organic agriculture. With that being said, I am not a supporter of a fully organic system because it cannot produce the yields needed or provide stability against drought and pest. The move from"traditional" agriculture was based on growing populations and population shifts to urban centres. Organic holds promise in urban food projects, biodiversity and as a niche market for farmers. However, a entire societal shift to organic is not possible due to the intense demands of organic agriculture and the price of the product reflected by that input.
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    Dec 25, 2008 3:01 PM GMT


    The big issue we have with genetically modified crops is what recently happened with Western Family brand Tortilla chips etc. They used genetically modified corn designed specifically for cows, which are ruminants and have seven stage stomachs. This type of corn can cause severs allergic reactions in humans along with some other digestive nasties. They were finally caught by the US FDA and the case dragged out in court.

    as an example:


    http://web.mit.edu/thistle/www/v13/4/food.html
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    Dec 25, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    I think the biggest issue in the coming decades will be the loss of topsoil. Large scale mechanized agriculture, conventional or organic, loses topsoil faster than it is created, and at some point, the tilth will become too poor to support the human population.
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    Dec 25, 2008 3:21 PM GMT
    ^ True in places like the US and China where farms are almost always massive places.

    It is true in some areas here too. Del Monte plantations (fruit company mostly known for their pineapples) here in our province for instance are badly eroded, because they too utilize the large scale farming methods common in America.

    The loss of the topsoil is not much of a problem in small scale farms. Pests and the loss of nutrients are the primary reasons why crops fail here. Hence why fertilizers and pesticides are still pretty popular here (along with the environmental consequences).

    They need to realize there isn't a single way of farming. Advocating for strictly organic might provide safer food for first world countries, but it could also spell starvation in other countries where going all natural would leave the crops VERY vulnerable (especially since farmers would more often farm only a single field per season, a season's loss would affect him immensely). Then again going chemical crazy and reckless genetic modification would also result not only in possible environmental decline (including the threat of a GMO going 'rogue' and upsetting delicate ecosystems if they germinate) but also perpetuate evil monopolies who can control their sterile GMO supply and keep the farmers running after them. A compromise between the two is the best way, imo.
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    Dec 25, 2008 6:24 PM GMT
    agri_sci saidAs a student of agriscience, I have studied both conventional and organic agriculture. With that being said, I am not a supporter of a fully organic system because it cannot produce the yields needed or provide stability against drought and pest. The move from"traditional" agriculture was based on growing populations and population shifts to urban centres. Organic holds promise in urban food projects, biodiversity and as a niche market for farmers. However, a entire societal shift to organic is not possible due to the intense demands of organic agriculture and the price of the product reflected by that input.



    So I guess we settle for layers of carcinogens on our nutrient deficient mass produced produce?

    The status quo isn't acceptable. It's not a matter of weights and measures, it's just simply not acceptable.

    And yields needed for what?
    Conventional agriculture does not feed the world; it feeds investors with money. It poisons rivers and watersheds not to feed the hungry or some such noble cause, but for money! It's a self centered operation controlled by self centered, short lived little beings who just don't give a shit about anything but their bottom line.

    How do you figure that a conventional system is less impacted by a drought than an organic one?
    A conventional field has about 0% organic matter, an established organic field has between 3% and 5%. That content is directly related to water retention.

    And as for pests, you're saying spraying our foods with chemicals that will kill people that are in the fields is by some stretch a permissible solution?
    A properly implemented IPM [Integrated Pest Management] program can prevent infestations and, even if they're not caught early, can control them.

    There is an order and system of nature that exists beyond the delusions of superiority of the human mind.

    Just because we humans shit in porcelain bowls and create Pepsi we think we're special and that the rest of the living world should do as we think.

    "Follow the appropriateness of the season, consider well the nature and conditions of the soil, then and only then least labor will bring best success. Rely on one's own idea and not on the orders of nature, then every effort will be futile." Jia Si Xie, 6th century, China.
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    Dec 25, 2008 7:33 PM GMT
    What if there were a national policy shift to mandate politically-correct farming methods and socially responsible ecological theory? In fact, that experiment has already been done. It was called "Lysenkoism." That little party resulted in the largest famine in human history, and tens of millions of deaths.

    Almost identical to Lysenokoism, the key methods of "organic farming" are dubious claims of moral superiority, slander, and misinformation. See above for examples.

    BTW, I did read the introduction to one of Pollan's books. He begins by explicitly rejecting science, data, and logic, instead claiming to argue on the basis of "common sense." Sounds like Lysenko all over again.


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    Dec 25, 2008 9:06 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidWhat if there were a national policy shift to mandate politically-correct farming methods and socially responsible ecological theory? In fact, that experiment has already been done. It was called "Lysenkoism." That little party resulted in the largest famine in human history, and tens of millions of deaths.


    I looked it up on Wiki...

    Why are you equating organic crop production with a repressive system imposed by Stalin? Collective farming was Stalin's, the Lysenkoism was with his blessing.

    mindgarden said
    Almost identical to Lysenokoism, the key methods of "organic farming" are dubious claims of moral superiority, slander, and misinformation. See above for examples.


    'methods are dubious claims...'.. Elaborate please.



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    Dec 25, 2008 9:06 PM GMT
    Organics Can Feed the World—A conversation with leading commercial-scale organic grain growers, Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens

    Acres U.S.A.: ...Let’s talk about the bottom line for any farmer—making a profit. Industrial agriculture claims it can increase profits through the use of synthetic chemicals. What about the costs of farming organically?

    M-H. Martens: We have tracked our costs very carefully on a computer program ever since the late ‘80s and early '90s, before we were organic farmers, through our transition and now for more than 12 years farming organically. What we found is that our cost of production, our cost per bushel, has actually dropped as compared to what it was when we were farming conventionally. This year, with conventional input costs skyrocketing and the costs of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides going through the roof, organic farming is going to make even more economic sense because, except for petroleum, our input costs haven’t changed much while organic grain prices have risen significantly. Even if we weren’t getting a premium price for our organic grain, we’d still make more money farming organically.

    Underline mine.