erlichman 
Member since Oct 27, 2009


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Re: “Growing With Love

Sources, disinformation, rhetoric? I guess you don't read very well, do you? Since you appear to be thick, here are the sources... consumerfreedom.com, The National Review, The Center for Global Food Issues, Tanaka Farms, Irvine, California, USDA, and the FDA. Unlike you, I actually did research for this piece and my facts are exactly that, facts that are verifiable. Why don't you do a little research of your own? As far as the local organic farm, more power to them; may they stay small and local.

Posted by erlichman on 10/29/2009 at 12:46 PM

Re: “Growing With Love

Organic food is one of the biggest scams out there... Here are three popular myths perpetuated by the organic food industry and the counter arguments to those myths...

Buying organic food benefits small farmers, and represents a blow to the big food corporations.

All right, let's take for granted the position that major food producers deserve to be struck with a blow. I'm sure the starving millions in Africa appreciate the sentiment.

Make no mistake, organic food is big, big business. The days when the organic produce section of the supermarket represented the product of a small local farmer are long gone. California alone produces over $600 million in organic produce, most of it coming from just five farms, who are also the same producers of most non-organic food in the state. 70 percent of all organic milk is controlled by just one major milk producer.

Five or ten years ago, when the major food producers saw that organic food was coming into vogue, what do you think they did? They smelled higher prices charged for less product, and started producing organic crops. Nearly all organic crops in the United States are either grown, distributed, or sold by exactly the same companies who produce conventional crops. They don't care which one you buy. You're not striking a blow at anyone, except at your own pocketbook.

Trader Joe's is a supermarket chain specializing in organic, vegetarian, and alternative foods with hundreds of locations throughout the United States, centered in organic-happy Southern California. Shoppers appreciate its image of healthful food in a small-business family atmosphere. Really? In 2005 alone, Trader Joe's racked up sales estimated at $4.5 billion. The company is owned by a family trust set up by German billionaire Theo Albrecht, ranked the 22nd richest man in the world by Forbes in 2004. He's the co-founder and CEO of German multi-national ALDI, with global revenue in grocery sales at $37 billion. According to Business Week, the decade of the 1990's saw Trader Joe's increase its profits by 1000%. Trader Joe's also compensates its employees aggressively, with starting salaries for supervisors at $40,000. They hire only non-union workers. Now, to any capitalist or business-minded person, there's nothing wrong with any of that (unless you're pro-union or anti-big business). It's a great company, and very successful. Trader Joe's customers are willing to pay their premium prices to get that healthful image. But they should not kid themselves that they're striking a blow at big business and supporting the little guy.

I'm not exactly sure why anticorporatism wound up on the organic food agenda, since it's so counterintuitive. The irony is that the organic food companies supply a smaller amount of food per acre planted, and enjoy dramatically higher profits, which is why anticorporatists hate corporations in the first place.

For more information about organic food as big business, go to consumerfreedom.com and do a search for organic foods.

Organic foods are healthier to eat.

Did you ever wonder why Chinese drink only hot tea? They boil it to kill the bacteria. Most local Chinese farming uses organic methods, in that the only fertilizers used are human and animal waste: Without being boiled, it's basically a nice cup of E. coli. In the case of China and other poor Asian nations, the reason for organic farming has less to do with ideology and more to do with lack of access to modern farming technology.

The National Review reports that Americans believe organic food is healthier by a 2-1 margin, despite the lack of any evidence supporting this. When you take the exact same strain of a plant and grow it in two different ways, its chemical and genetic makeup remain the same. One may be larger than the other if one growing method was more efficient, but its fundamental makeup and biochemical content is defined by its genes, not by the way it was grown. Consumer Reports found no consistent difference in appearance, flavor, or texture. A blanket statement like "organic cultivation results in a crop with superior nutritional value" has no logical or factual basis.

Some supporters of organic growing claim that the danger of non-organic food lies in the residues of chemical pesticides. This claim is even more ridiculous: Since the organic pesticides and fungicides are less efficient than their modern synthetic counterparts, up to seven times as much of it must be used. Organic pesticides include rotenone, which has been shown to cause the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and is a natural poison used in hunting by some native tribes; pyrethrum, which is carcinogenic; sabadilla, which is highly toxic to honeybees; and fermented urine, which I don't want on my food whether it causes any diseases or not. Supporters of organics claim that the much larger amounts of chemicals they use is OK because those chemicals are all-natural. But just because something is natural doesn't mean that it's safe or healthy — consider the examples of hemlock, mercury, lead, toadstools, box jellyfish neurotoxin, asbestos — not to mention a nearly infinite number of toxic bacteria and viruses (E. coli, salmonella, bubonic plague, smallpox). When you hear any product claim to be healthy because its ingredients are all natural, be skeptical. By no definition can "all natural" mean that a product is healthful.

Consider the logical absurdity proposed by those who claim conventional growers produce less healthful food. To the organically minded, conventional growers are evil greedy corporations interested only in their profit margin. What's the best way to improve the profit margin? To buy less pesticides and fertilizer. This means they must use far more advanced and efficient products. The idea that pesticides leave dangerous residues is many decades out of date. Food production is among the most regulated and scrutinized of processes, and today's synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are completely biodegradable. They're supported by decades of studies that demonstrate their total safety.

In the United States, 2006 brought two major outbreaks of E. coli, both resulting in deaths and numerous illnesses, ultimately traced to organically grown spinach and lettuce. According to the Center for Global Food Issues, organic foods make up about 1% of all the food sold in the United States, but it accounts for 8% of E. coli cases.

Organic growing methods are better for the environment.

Organic methods require about twice the acreage to produce the same crop, thus directly resulting in the destruction of undeveloped land. During a recent Girl Scout field trip to Tanaka Farms in Irvine, California, one of the owners told us his dirty little secret that contradicts what you'll find on his web site. Market conditions compelled them to switch to organic a few years ago, and he absolutely hates it. The per-acre yield has been slashed. Organic farming produces less food, and requires more acreage.

Many so-called environmentalists generally favor organic farming, at the same time that they protest deforestation to make room for more agriculture. How do they reconcile these directly conflicting views? If you want to feed a growing population, you cannot do both, and soon won't be able to do either. If you support rainforest preservation, logically you should oppose organic farming, particularly in the developing world. On the other hand, if you demand organic soybeans, then you should have the courage to stand up and say that you don't care whether black and brown people around the world have enough to eat or not.

I'm not making this stuff up. For every dreadlocked white kid beating a bongo drum in favor of organics, there is a Ph.D. agriculturist warning about its short sightedness and urging efficient modern agriculture to feed our growing population. Personally I like forests and natural areas, so I favor using the farmlands that we already have as efficiently as possible. This benefits everyone. I say we dump the useless paranormal objections to foods freighted with evil corporate hate energy, and instead use our brains to our advantage for once. When we find a better way to grow the same crop faster, stronger, healthier, and on less acreage, let's do it. We all benefit.



0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by erlichman on 10/29/2009 at 3:08 AM

Re: “Yet Another Stupid Argument in Favor of Prop 200

Talk about being a complete moron... Nintz, you take the cake. All the waste here and you only focus on 88-crime. Whether it's $10 million or not, these are all non essential services that can go away with little to no impact on the city. Why don't you do some real reporting and talk about the discretionary funds the city council is just sitting on to fund their silly pet projects? How about Nina trasoff getting greased to the tune of $4 million so Mr. An can move in downtown. I guess this is why you're writing for a second rate rag.

Posted by erlichman on 10/27/2009 at 11:00 PM

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