A Quote by Michael Pollan on organic produce, organic, and health

... the greens were grown organically.  Since they’re not pumped up on synthetic nitrogen, the cells of these slower-growing leaves develop thicker walls and take up less water, making them more durable.

            And, I’m convinced, tastier, too.  When I visited Greenways Organic, which grows both conventional and organic tomatoes, I learned that the organic ones consistently earn higher Brix scores (a measure of sugars) than the same varieties grown conventionally.  More sugars mean less water and more flavor.  It stands to reason that the same would hold true for other organic vegetables: slower growth, thicker cell walls, and less water should produce more concentrated flavors.  That at least has always been my impression, though in the end freshness probably affects flavor more than growing method.

Michael Pollan

Source: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Large Print Press), Pages: 176

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Michael Pollan on calories, food, food supply, organic, and commercial organic

...A one-pound box of prewashed lettuce contains 80 calories of food energy.  According to Cornell ecologist David Pimentel, growing, chilling, washing, packaging, and transporting that box of organic salad to a plate on the East Coast takes more than 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy, or 57 calories of fossil fuel for every calorie of food.  (These figures would be about 4% higher if the salad were grown conventionally.)

Michael Pollan

Source: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Large Print Press), Pages: 167

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Michael Pollan on food, food supply, local farming, polyface farms, organic, and joel salatin

It isn’t hard to see why there isn’t much institutional support for the sort of low-capital, thought-intensive farming Joel Salatin practices:  He buys next to nothing.  When a livestock farmer is willing to “practice complexity” – to choreograph the symbiosis of several different animals, each which has been allowed to behave and eat as it evolved to – he will find he has little need for machinery, fertilizer, and, most strikingly, chemicals.  He finds he has no sanitation problem or any of the diseases that result from raising a single animal in a crowded monoculture and then feeding it things it wasn’t designed to eat.  This is perhaps the greatest efficiency of a farm treated as a biological system:  health.

I was struck by the fact that for Joel abjuring agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals is not so mush a goal of his farming, as it so often is in organic agriculture, as it is an indication that his farm is functioning well.  “In nature health is the default,” he pointed out.  “Most of the time pests and disease are just nature’s way of telling the farmer he’s doing something wrong.”

Michael Pollan

Source: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Large Print Press), Pages: 221

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Michael Pollan on sustainable agriculture, food supply, and organic

Obviously there is much more to be learned about the relationship of soil to plant, animals, and health, and it would be a mistake to lean too heavily on any one study.  It would also be a mistake to assume the word “organic” on a label automatically signifies healthfulness, especially when that label appears on heavily processed and long-distance foods that have probably had much of their nutritional value, not to mention flavor, beaten out of them long before they arrive on our tables.

            The better for what?  Question about my organic meal can of course be answered in a much less selfish way:  Is it better for the environment?  Better for the farmers who grew it?  Better for public health?  For the taxpayer?  The answer to all three questions is an (almost) unqualified yes.  To grow the plants and animals that made up my meal, no pesticides found their way into any farmer’s bloodstream, no nitrogen run off or growth hormones seeped into the watershed, no soils were poisoned, no antibiotics were squandered, no subsidy checks were written.  If the high price of my all-organic meal is weighed against the comparatively low price it extracted from the larger world, as it should be, it begins to look, at least in karmic terms, like a real bargain.

            And yet, and yet... an industrial organic meal such as mine does leave deep footprints on our world.  The lot of the workers who harvested the vegetables and gathered up Rosie for slaughter is not appreciably different from those on nonorganic factory farms.  The chickens lived only marginally better lives than their conventional counterparts; in the end a CAFO is a CAFO, whether the food served in it is organic or not.  As for the cows that produced the milk in our ice cream, they may well have spent time outdoors in an actual pasture (Stonyfield buys most – though not all – of its milk from small dairy farmers), but the organic label guarantees no such thing.  And while the organic farms I visited don’t receive direct government payments, they do receive other subsidies from taxpayers, notably subsidized water and electricity in California.  The two-hundred-thousand-square-foot refrigerated processing plant where my salad was washed pays half as much for its electricity as it would were Earthbound not classified as a “farm enterprise.”

            But perhaps most discouraging of all, my industrial organic meal is nearly as drenched in fossil fuel as it’s conventional counterpart.  Asparagus traveling in a 747 from Argentina; blackberries trucked up from Mexico; a salad chilled to thirty-six degrees from the moment it was picked in Arizona (where Earthbound moves its entire operation every winter) to the moment I walk it out the doors of my Whole Foods.  The food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the United States (about as much as automobiles do).  Today it takes between seven and ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate.  And while it is true that organic farmers don’t spread fertilizers made from natural gas or spray pesticides made from petroleum, industrial organic farmers often wind up burning more diesel fuel than their conventional counterparts: in trucking bulky loads of compost across the countryside and weeding their fields, a particularly energy intensive process involving extra irrigation (to germinate the weeds before planting) and extra cultivation.  All told, growing food organically uses about a third less fossil fuel than growing it conventionally, according to David Pimentel, though that savings disappears if the compost is not produced on site or nearby.

            Yet growing the food is the least of it:  only a fifth of the total energy used to feed us is consumed on the farm; the rest is spent processing the food and moving it around.  At least in terms of the fuel burned to get it from the farm to my table, there’s little reason to think my Cascadian Farm TV dinner or Earthbound Farm spring mix salad is any more sustainable than a conventional TV dinner or salad would have been.

            Well, at least we didn’t eat it in the car.

            So is an industrial organic food chain finally a contradiction in terms?  It’s hard to escape the conclusion that it is.  Of course it is possible to live with contradictions, at least for a time, and sometimes it is necessary or worthwhile.  But we ought at least face up to the cost of our compromises.  The inspiration for organic was to find a way to feed ourselves more in keeping with the logic of nature, to build a food system that looked more like an ecosystem that would draw it’s fertility and energy from the sun.  To feed ourselves otherwise was “unsustainable,” a word that’s been so abused we’re apt to forget what it very specifically means:  Sooner or later it must collapse.  To a remarkable extent, farmers succeeded in creating the new food chain on their farms; the trouble began when they encountered the expectations of the supermarket.  As in so many other realms, nature’s logic has proven no match for the logic of capitalism, one in which cheap energy has always been a given.  And so, today, the organic food industry finds itself in a most unexpected, uncomfortable, and, yes, unsustainable position:  floating on a sinking sea of petroleum.

Michael Pollan

Source: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Large Print Press), Pages: 181-4

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Michael Pollan on ascorbic acid, lycopenes, resveratrol, flavonols, organic, food, food supply, and health

Studies show that organically grown crops produce more of the things (ascorbic acid, lycopenes, resveratrol, flavonols in general, etc) that our bodies need and also have less toxic residue.  Science is still catching up with this.  J. Agric. Food. Chem. Vol. 51, no. 5, 2003.

Michael Pollan

Source: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Large Print Press), Pages: 181

Contributed by: HeyOK

A Quote by Xia Neifion~Clark on extremes, balance, awareness, correlation, actuality, organic, ultimate frontier, true being, being, internal, and external

Thus the more internal and external extremes can be brought into balanced, Aware correlation, the more whole, powerful, and actual things become.  Our presence within existence becomes more organic, and the entire face of our nature and identity more closely approach the Ultimate Frontier of our True Being.

Xia Neifion~Clark

Source: The New Culture of Ouranos: The Plan, Pages: 24

Contributed by: Xia

A Quote by Norman Borlaug on food and organic

If people want to believe that the organic food has better nutritive value, it's up to them to make that foolish decision. But there's absolutely no research that shows that organic foods provide better nutrition. As far as plants are concerned, they can't tell whether that nitrate ion comes from artificial chemicals or from decomposed organic matter. If some consumers believe that it's better from the point of view of their health to have organic food, God bless them. Let them buy it. Let them pay a bit more. It's a free society. But don't tell the world that we can feed the present population without chemical fertilizer. That's when this misinformation becomes destructive.

Norman Borlaug

Source: Billions Served: Norman Borlaug interviewed by Ronald Bailey:

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

A Quote by Viktor Schauberger on vacuum, explosion, heat, expansion, hostile, nature, imbalance, and organic

The technique that only uses explosion or expansion forces is lethal and hostile to the nature.
This kind of technique must miss the natural counter force or the organic synthesis which is a negative form of quality - The Organic Vacuum - that reunites the polar and the increasing to the favour of  the uprising of a new life form.

Viktor Schauberger

Contributed by: esaruoho

A Quote by Sol Luckman on literature, beginners luke, sol luckman, critics, immortality, organic, experience, complexity, transcendence, mundane origins, alchemy, alchemist, gold, base metals, and transmutation

Literature, at its best, and despite the recent attempts of critics, can never be murdered and dissected, as it’s an immortal yet organic thing, drawing on the richness and complexity of Experience yet somehow managing to transcend its mundane origins like an alchemist transmuting base metals.

Sol Luckman

Source: Beginner's Luke: Book I of the Beginner's Luke Series, Pages: 9

Contributed by: Alyce

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