When it comes to oranges, for example, the largest single cost of production comes from the carbon-intensive nitrogen fertilizer; cut that single synthetic input out of the process, and it can save a huge amount of costs that add up to a drastically reduced carbon footprint.
What we don’t know
It drastically reduces "true" costs Earlier this year, the UN Environmental Programme issued a pretty dire report about pending food crises at the hands of climate change. The report, The Environmental Food Crises: Environment's role in averting future food crises , came to a handful of striking conclusions. The findings include a scary future for those living in extreme poverty , who may end up spending a whopping 90 percent of their income on food -- ouch. And, up to 25 percent of global food production may be lost to "environmental breakdowns.
It helps make it a lot easier to be a vegetarian and vegan Words like "organic" and "vegetarian" or "vegan" might naturally seem to go together, but that isn't always the case. Enter the Vegan Organic Agriculture movement, which aims to promote agricultural and horticultural techniques that avoid all animal inputs, including things like fish meal, bone meal, manure or slaughterhouse remains. Being organic to boot, artificial chemicals are off the menu, too.
Their supporters include "people of many viewpoints, some involved in growing food, some not, but all united in recognising the need for a fundamental restructuring of food production methods and land use and their importance for human well-being and social justice, for animal welfare and biodiversity and in the battle for environmental sustainability.
e-book Organic Foods: What You Didnt Know
Organic agriculture will adapt to climate change more quickly Because of its extensive use of compost and crop diversity, organic agriculture will also be able to better withstand the difficulties that climate change will bring, like higher temperatures and more variable rainfall. The high level of organic material maintained in soils does a lot of the work -- plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and can put it mostly permanently into the soil. It won't kill you and conventional industrial ag just might In June, a study emerged showing that so-called inert ingredients in Roundup, Monsanto's widely used flagship herbicide, can kill human cells even at low levels--"particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells," reports Scientific American.
Used extremely widely -- on almost all of the US's corn and soy fields, covering tens of millions of acres of cropland, as well as by landscapers and on home lawns -- the "inert" ingredients in Roundup aren't good for you. Add to that all the recent and necessary hubbub over atrazine -- found to cause reproductive problems and hermaphrodism in frogs -- which is another herbicide in wide use in conventional agriculture, and your health and the planet's is in much less danger when you stick to organic agriculture.
Organic agriculture isn't "sustainable" Mother Jones reports that most of what we consider "sustainable" today simply is not - only 2 percent of the food purchased in the U. While contemporary organic farms are held to stricter ecological standards, they are still trying to keep up with their conventional rivals in terms of production; that often amounts to measures of cost-cutting. The organic standards encourage farmers to replenish soils on site, via manure or crop rotations or no-till agriculture, or other organic practices.
This is costly and to cut costs, some farmers just truck in manure from feed lots. Trucking in manure causing more carbon emissions from feed lots which brings hormones, and other food safety issues into the mix begs the question - is this organic item still the holy grail of food?
Add to that how very hard it is to keep GMO-tainted seeds and food out of organic fields, meaning most of the items we call organic today are just "mostly" organic. True "organic agriculture" requires a large-scale paradigm shift -- one that's underway in small pockets around the world -- but until these hitches are worked out of all organics, we can't call organic agriculture "sustainable.
Myth 1: Organic food is free of pesticides and herbicides.
Can't get enough TreeHugger? Sign up now and have it sent straight to your inbox. Daily and Weekly newsletters available. Email Address Email is required. Other observational studies have shown organic food consumption to be associated with lower risk of diabetes , metabolic syndrome , pre-eclampsia and genital birth defects. In this case, people who eat organic food are more highly educated, less likely to be overweight or obese, and eat overall healthier diets than conventional consumers.
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While good observational studies take into account things like education and diet quality, there remains the possibility that some other uncaptured difference between the two groups — beyond the decision to consume organic food — may be responsible for any health differences observed.
They conduct randomized trials, where they randomly assign some people to take the drug and others to receive placebos or standard care. We recruited a small group of pregnant women during their first trimesters. We randomly assigned them to receive weekly deliveries of either organic or conventional produce throughout their second and third trimesters.
We then collected a series of urine samples to assess pesticide exposure. We found that those women who received organic produce had significantly lower exposure to certain pesticides specifically, pyrethroid insecticides than those who received conventional produce. On the surface, this seems like old news but this study was different in three important ways.
First, to our knowledge, it was the longest organic diet intervention to date — by far. It was also the first to occur in pregnant women. Fetal development is potentially the most sensitive period for exposures to neurotoxic agents like pesticides. In our study, we asked participants to supplement their existing diets with either organic or conventional produce. This is more consistent with the actual dietary habits of most people who eat organic food — occasionally, but not always. Even with just a partial dietary change, we observed a significant difference in pesticide exposure between the two groups.
We believe that this study shows that a long-term organic diet intervention can be executed in a way that is effective, realistic and feasible. The next step is to do this same study but in a larger population.
Organic Foods: What You Didnt Know
We would then want to assess whether there were any resulting differences in the health of the children as they grew older, by measuring neurological outcomes like IQ, memory and incidence of attention-deficit disorders. The public is sufficiently interested in this question, the organic market is large enough, and the observational studies suggestive enough to justify such a study.
Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Freshly harvested organic foods such as these radishes may seem to be healthier, but it is difficult to say for sure.