Originally Answered: Why do people think eating organic vegetables is better?
I have been asked to respond to this question and to do it justice this is gonna be a long answer. So if you have a short attention span, please move on to the next question.
'The spokesperson for the organic food industry already admitted on national television that it isnt any healthier'
Yes I understand this did happen, but what he said was it was inconclusive and this was a while back. This is no longer correct, they now have conclusive evidence to support commercially grown organic food being higher in nutrients.
First I will clear up the misunderstanding of the intention of growing Organic Food. The concept was a growing method to protect the environment by reducing the number of chemical fertilizers and routine injections given to animals. The intention was not to produce more tasty or healthier products at all.
However, consumers have misunderstood this subtlety, mainly because producers have seen the massive profits that can be made from people believing that Commercially grown Organic products are better for them (as opposed to the truth, Commercial Organic farming is much better for animal welfare and the environment -stricter legislation too. AND marginally better nutritionally see below).
PLEASE NOTE The reference to Commercially grown organic foods and homegrown or local grown organic foods, a distinction I will return to later.
There had been a number of inconclusive studies done on commercially grown organic foods in the past in relation to both taste and nutritive benefits. Indeed many people have appeared on television challenging both the claimed taste and nutritive benefits, including popular chefs (Delia Smith comes to mind).
But ... there is now well supported research findings by
Dr Kirsten Brandt of Newcastle University which found that
commercially grown organic carrots, apples, peaches and potatoes had greater concentrations of vitamin C and antioxidants than conventionally grown produce.
In 400g daily allowance of fruit and vegetables you get 20% more nutrients in organic food. Other research supports these findings including American Research on Kiwi Fruits and research done on organic milk has been shown to contain 68% more omega3 fatty acids than ordinary milk in research done by the University of Liverpool. However, eating more conventional fruit and vegetables a day can also increase your nutrient intake.
There have always been strong distinctions between the welfare of commercially grown organic animals and conventional animals, enforced by stricter legislation for the commercially grown organic animals. However, these are still far from perfect (in my opinion still dubious eg in egg production, better than conventional farming methods but still awful).
'There arent even any studies indicting modern pesticides, not even among the farmers and their families that use them'
Sorry incorrect again. A nice summary here of some of the research that disapproves this statement.
‘‘Long-term exposure to pesticides can lead to serious disturbances to the immune system, sexual disorders, cancers, sterility, birth defects, damage to the nervous system and genetic damage’. European Commission 2006
'Organic takes up to 4 times as much land resource to yield the same amount due to the inefficient and backward methods'
There are numerous Governmental research findings which consistently show that organic farms are more biodiverse; more plants, flowers, birds, insects, bees, etc etc. Organic farming also avoids some of the of carbon hungry processes eg avoidance of soluble fertilizers and pesticides.
Another reason why UK Governments have financial grants packages and information services to encourage UK farmers to grow organically and sustainably.
'If this catches on we'll be cutting down forests for farm land to meet demands'
The opposite is actually true. Also, do not confuse the intensive meat and dairy industry with organic production they are different beasts (lol).
See this video for mass deforestation caused by traditional agriculture - intensive beef and dairy industry and growing foodstuff for intensively reared livestock (such as the intensive poultry industry).
The intensive Beef and Dairy industry (and growing feeds for intensive livestock farming) are responsible for more deforestation than any other cause.
Why do people think organic is so good?
Animals have not been treated with: antibiotics, growth hormones or feed made from animal byproducts. Animals are fed organic food (for a proportion of their life). They have access to outdoor space. Organic food can not be GM. Organic food is (largely) free of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Environmental Working Group found that even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others on conventionally farmed foods. They developed the concept of the dirty dozen fruit and vegetables.
So far this has been about commercially grown organic produce. There are problems with this method of food production, see comments above. It is also usually a monoculture system. It is also usually more expensive to buy. Organic produce is often imported from abroad, where they do not have as strict Organic standards as the UK and there is also the issue of CO2 production from flying food half way around the world. Another criticism of organic food is that it is not as fresh as other food (when it has been flown from abroad) and it's appearance can be poor in comparison to conventionally grown produce.
However, all of these problems can be overcome, you can get fresh, seasonal, local produce, that is much higher in nutritive value than conventional food products. You can ensure that it is chemical free, you can grow biodiversly. You can increase habitat and retain the minerals we need to stay healthy and organic matter in the soils. You can build soils. How?
(see my profile for youtube links and site links about Permaculture.