where trouble was needed

September 5, 2012

Comment on organic foods – runner’s world

Filed under: Comment — Aravinda @ 12:46 pm

Recent current “events” of US have brought attention to a magazine called “Runners World.” I looked at the site and saw the top story Study: Organic Foods Might Not Be More Nutritious.

So in solidarity with the many runners who also take interest in sustainable agricultural issues, as well as organic-enthusiasts are interested in truth and “fact-checking,” and considering that this magazine is enjoying its day in the national spotlight, I posted this comment on the site:

The vision of organic has been rapidly diluted after it shot to fame and fortune, but this approach to growing food should mean far more than refraining from the use of harmful inputs (chemical pesticide & fertilizer). It should be a holistic approach that supports the ability of the plant itself to draw fertility from the soil and to defend itself from pests. This will involve inter-cropping and focus not on directly feeding N-P-K to the plant, but rather on replenishing the microbes living in the soil. Plants grown this way will take longer to bear fruit but the resulting fruit / vegetable / leaf will be higher in a much wider range of nutrients because the roots were allowed to dig deeper. It may also be smaller in size compared to a vegetable that has been pumped up with fertilizer.

Because this method takes more time it is not favoured by the Big Organic Agriculture companies, who continue to do monocropping and focus on methods that make the fruit / vegetable gain weight faster. This means less time for the roots to do their rooting for nutrients and hence the results reported here are not surprising. But if you have the opportunity to buy from a local organic farmer, working in a smaller area and and practicing holistic and sustainable agricultural techniques, you are more likely to finds fruits and vegetables able to grow in a way that draws in a wider range of nutrients.

I learned the above from a farmer at Alemany Farm in San Francisco and also from reading Michael Pollan In Defense of Food, which I highly recommend.

The study originally appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine and was also reported by the BBC¬†on 3 September 2012. “Organic food ‘not any healthier'”

And Just for fun: Check your marathon running time against the http://www.paulryantimecalculator.com.


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