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Why Organic?

The following quotes are from the book From the Good Earth, by Michael Ableman (Thames and Hudson) - a beautiful book, which paints an overall positive picture about agriculture - where we have come from, what we have done in the past two generations, how things are changing and and what we must do now.

"California...... Stop for a moment. Step out of the car, and the heat is like a dead weight on your head. Everywhere you look there are flat fields of grapevines, in their perfectly formed bunches of immature fruit hidden among the leaves. A black drip hose loops from one vine to the next, and the next, stretching off into infinity. It emits a single drop of water every few seconds at the base of each vine in this row and in every other row throughout this enormous factory plantation - all in a series of precisely timed and computer-controlled chips.

"Close your eyes, and that's what you hear: just the carefully timed drip, drip, drip onto ground as hard as a tennis court. But for the grapevines, there is not a living thing here: no weeds poking their heads out of packed clay; no worms tunnelling or insects buzzing; no songbirds trilling overhead or small rodents scurrying in the understory; not even one solitary vulture circling. Just grapes. And, beyond the drips, silence.

"These fields and orchards were designed to produce great quantities of cheap food. And to accomplish that, we are told, there must be high input industrial efficiency. Fields are laser-levelled as flat as tabletops. Rows are precision-spaced with food crops bred to accommodate machinery and last on food shelves. First the earth is drilled with synthetic fertilisers developed from the same research that perfected explosives and poison gases in World War II, and then it's pumped with fumigants and doused with herbicides to inhibit soil-borne disease and retard the growth of weeds. Crops are sprayed and dusted with broad-spectrum insecticides that kill harmful insects, along with most others, in order to maintain high yields and guarantee consistency of appearance in the supermarket.

"A tractor with insect-like mechanical arms that span many rows creeps along in a bean field. Sprayer jets in the tractor's arms are drenching the plants with chemicals. The man in the tractor has a lunch pail beside him. When he eats, he will have to remove his respirator and the rubberised gloves that protect his hands. He's learned not to inhale the chemicals he's spraying - the same sprays that, according to the World Health Organisation Statistics, result in one million acute poisonings per year and, according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), leave traces behind on the food we eat."

and ...

"Sculpted beds carved out of a northern California hillside await a full planting of commercial strawberries. Under a plastic cover the ground will be sterilised with a fumigant, the contaminated plastics discarded, disposable irrigation tape laid down, granular fertilisers applied, and the seedlings planted into holes burned into a second covering of plastic. In the months until harvest, the plants and the fruit may be treated with one or more of the 65 pesticides registered for use on strawberries."

and ...

"On the Oxnard plain in Southern California, pest control specialists begin their day spraying celery with fungicides. The EPA has ranked agricultural chemicals as one of the most serious health hazards, some linked to cancers, sterility, and birth defects."

and ...

"Pesticides banned in the United States are still produced and sold to developing countries, only to return to us in a circle of poison on many of the foods we import. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, 64% of imported produce sampled by the FDA in 1990 showed detectable residues of pesticides, including banned chemicals DDT, Hexalor, dieldrin, aldrin, chlordane and chlorobenzilate."

These examples explain why you are encouraged to eat food which is grown organically!

 

 

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