‘Organic’ does not necessarily mean ‘pesticide-free’

As always, I find Alex Avery’s work insightful. Here is a few quotes from his latest:

“Nature’s Toxic Tools: The Organic Myth of Pesticide-Free Farming”
Alex A. Avery, Center for Global Food Issues
http://www.biblelife.org/organic.pdf

 

“The primary organic fungicides are sulfur and copper. Both products are mined from natural mineral ores. Both are toxic to a broad range of organisms and are long-term soil and environmental contaminants. Both are applied at significantly higher rates of active ingredient than synthetic fungicides.”

 

“All farmers use a combination of crop rotation, disease and insect-resistant crop varieties, and soil fertility management to maximize plant health and minimize the impacts of crop pests. But all farmers also combine these strategies with judicious pesticide use to achieve an acceptable balance between crop yield, pest damage, and profitability. The biggest difference between organic farmers and their conventional counterparts is that organic farmers generally accept higher amounts of crop damage and loss before using pesticides. They do so because of the price premium for organic food and because organic pesticides are generally more expensive and less effective than their synthetic counterparts.”

 

“But organic farmers refuse to use chemical herbicides to kill weeds. They are left with bare-earth weed control methods that lead to increased soil erosion and less sustainability. The irony is that herbicides are the least toxic class of pesticide and offer the most environmental benefit. Herbicides are mostly compounds that narrowly target plant enzymes and are virtually harmless to insects and mammals. Yet the benefits from their use are enormous. An all-organic mandate would eliminate all of these benefits.”

 

Fungicide_rates_synt_vs_org

One thought on “‘Organic’ does not necessarily mean ‘pesticide-free’

  1. “The Great Organic Debate” by Melissa Phy #ag #agchat Is buying organic better for us? Is conventional farming bad for our health and soil? See what market manager and local farmer Mary Hillebrecht has to say about this ongoing debate…Good article… worth a look. http://bit.ly/gVqkAD

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