September, 2012 
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GLEANINGS: n. 1. That which has been acquired by gleaning. 2. The monthly eNewsletter of CT NOFA. [Glean:v. 1. to gather relevant information or material by patient effort, bit by bit; to find out. 2. to gather grain or other produce (often: left by reapers); to harvest.]
 
From the Executive Director 

"Stanford research confirms health benefits driving consumers to organic
Organic foods have lower pesticide residues, lower chance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria"

Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  

 
bill duesingThe release of the "Stanford Study" on organic food has created a firestorm in the press and has given people who know very little about organic and what it means a reason to spout off in an "I told you so" manner; to say "You folks are so silly to spend your money on organic food." 

One of the most egregious was Roger Cohen's op ed in the NY Times on September 7.  Titled "The Organic Fable" he buys into the fable of industrial ag feeding the world (IT DOES NOT!) and believes the two-decades-old hype and hope of the genetic engineers that their crops will be "more resilient and plentiful." Genetically engineered crops are less resilient, have lowered yields, and have increased pesticide use.
cathy caruso
Kathy Caruso of Upper Forty Farm in Cromwell at the West Hartford Farmers Market where she is known as the tomato lady for her certified organic heirloom tomatoes. She is a founder of the market, celebrating its 20th year. Kathy's farm has been certified organic since the late 1980s.

However, as the headline above from the Organic Trade Association's press release shows there are many ways of looking at the results.  It was a very narrow study and most of the supportive response has been about just one aspect of organic food, nutrition.  As Kathy Caruso, with over two decades of certified organic farming experience, told a reporter at the West Hartford farmers market, it is not about nutrition.  Her customers buy organic to avoid pesticides and to provide broader benefits to society.

We need to move from a selfish approach (if organic isn't more nutritious for me, I should save money and buy conventional ) to an altruistic one (better for Earth, for farmers, for farmworkers and for biodiversity) which is what organic, in its holistic nature, is.


In response to the defensive reaction to the word "organic" among conventional agricultural farmers and institutions, which tends to make the word something that isn't used in their company, I wrote this essay. It is appropriate at this time.