Standing on Science: Debunking Organics

Have you recently heard “organic may not be what you think it is?”  I’ve been hearing that a lot over the last few months and this recently published article in Forbes magazine answered many questions I've had about the value of organic foods.  I'm going to follow this author's lead as he is standing on science to debunk the mysterious world of organics.  

standing in a rice field

standing in a rice field

The Author

Steven Savage was an enthusiastic supporter of the organic movement and its founding principals 30 years ago.  Simultaneously, he celebrates the changes this movement has brought and expresses his concern for unethical marketing about organic foods that has promoted a "super brand."  

standing on a pipe that's part of our water recycling system

standing on a pipe that's part of our water recycling system

Taking Action

Over the last 20 years, conventional farmers have heard the concerns the organic movement has highlighted, and they have taken action.  Fewer pesticides are used today.  No-till farming, which isn’t used on organic farms, allows for significantly less soil erosion on conventional farms.  Water-recycling has become common place on many conventional farms as a result of innovative engineering.  Higher yields seen by conventional farmers have resulted in using fewer acres for producing, which frees more land for natural habitats to be reclaimed.  Sustainability and soil health continue to improve because agriculture professionals have been actively listening.

standing on the top bar of a grain truck full of harvested rice

standing on the top bar of a grain truck full of harvested rice

No Difference

I appreciate that, even though Steven was an early backer of the organic movement, he hasn’t been blind to the negative transformation it has taken.  He has remained clear-headed by looking objectively at scientific studies about pesticides and nutritional values and taking those findings seriously regardless of any preconceived ideas he may have had.  He states that “many consumers believe that the Organic label means the food has superior nutrition and is safer, especially in regard to pesticide residues.  This is not true. Studies have shown no appreciable difference in nutrition between crops grown either organically or conventionally.”

standing by a pond

standing by a pond

Creating Confusion and Fear

Steven acknowledges that food labels and organic-funded marketing are creating confusion and preying on the fears of uninformed consumers.  They have attempted to create a “super brand.”  He mentions that parents, specifically, have been pressured into breaking their budget in order to “protect” their children. 

standing beside the goat pen

standing beside the goat pen

Relief on Parents' Faces

I have seen first-hand the relief on the faces of friends who are mothers when I tell them, using scientific evidence, that conventional farming methods are completely safe and are actually far more environmentally friendly than organic methods.  One friend even said “Oh I’m so relieved!  When you started talking about food safety, I thought you were going to give me one more thing I should feel guilty about or avoid.” 

standing in a horse barn

standing in a horse barn

Scientists Around the World Agree

Referring to several scientific studies, Steven recognizes that the safety and sustainability of conventionally grown foods have been proven time and again.  Scientists around the globe have agreed, international food and health organizations have endorsed these findings, and environmentalists from numerous countries have observed these advancements. 

standing in a truck full of harvested rice

standing in a truck full of harvested rice

Following His Lead

Yet, the money funding the false marketing is allowing the fear and confusion to continue.  This courageous author confidently stands firm in the midst of a national conversation swirling with mis-information.  I respect his fortitude and have come to the same conclusion.  I encourage you to read Steven's article for yourself and let me know what comes to mind.