Organic food

bucky

Pelican
I spend a lot of money on organic food. Been wondering lately if it's worth it. As with almost everything about health, some sources say yes, some say no. I follow PD Mangan and his Rogue Health and Fitness blog (https://roguehealthandfitness.com/blog/) and he recently sent out an email that amounted to a resounding "no." Here are some interesting points he made:

Hormones and Antibiotics in Meat
  • Modern meat production makes use of hormones and antibiotics
  • However, these are safe for human consumption
  • Non-organic meat contains orders of magnitudes fewer hormones than other foods (soy, for example)
Humans and Pesticides
  • 99.99% (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.
  • Nearly all of the pesticide chemicals that humans are exposed to are natural, produced by the plants themselves
  • There’s little if any difference between natural and synthetic pesticides
  • Furthermore, the quantity of natural pesticides that humans ingest daily is many orders of magnitude greater than the amount of synthetic pesticides
What do you all think? Seems like I could save significant money by not buying as much organic food. I eventually want to get to where I'm hunting and growing a lot of my own food, but for now I live in a condo in a big city in a blue state, so my options for planting crops are very limited, and I don't own a rifle (yet) or have much of a clue about hunting.
 

ilostabet

Pelican
I don't know about studies, and I don't care to be quite honest. But a few things I would keep in mind:

- Organic farming is, more or less, what humanity has done for its whole history prior to the industrial revolution. Although some corporate organic farming is just as disconnected from natural processes as the rest, the only difference is they follow some rules - sometimes quite arbitrary - and that don't make that much of a difference.
- There are always unintended consequences in deviating from the natural order, and oftentimes we only are able to pin them down after many years - this goes for artificial chemicals as for anything else.
- Many people are already used to the flavor of non-organic farming. For example, I've seen some people eat fresh salmon and not like it because they are used to the overly pink, jam-packed, antibiotic farmed stuff. Same for produce.
- Organic farming standards only guarantee that certain methods are used, it is not a guarantee that the farming is done well or that the produce will taste good or be of good quality.
- More importantly than any of the above: try growing some stuff organically yourself and then compare its flavor to both industrial farmed produce, corporate organic produce and locally sourced produce. You can still grow some stuff in an apartment - if nothing else, it serves as practice for when you have land to really pull it off. I can pretty much guarantee that its both better for you, and it will taste much better than corporate food - organic or otherwise.

In short, there is a difference between organic and non-organic, but there's probably more of a difference between corporate and locally produced. It's not only beneficial from a health perspective, but to counter the economic incentives towards monopoly, to support small-scale, local producers. There is always a price to pay for doing the right thing - for your body, for your community and for everything else. But the difference between locally sourced and corporate organic is close to zero anyway.
 

bucky

Pelican
I don't know about studies, and I don't care to be quite honest. But a few things I would keep in mind:

- Organic farming is, more or less, what humanity has done for its whole history prior to the industrial revolution. Although some corporate organic farming is just as disconnected from natural processes as the rest, the only difference is they follow some rules - sometimes quite arbitrary - and that don't make that much of a difference.
- There are always unintended consequences in deviating from the natural order, and oftentimes we only are able to pin them down after many years - this goes for artificial chemicals as for anything else.
- Many people are already used to the flavor of non-organic farming. For example, I've seen some people eat fresh salmon and not like it because they are used to the overly pink, jam-packed, antibiotic farmed stuff. Same for produce.
- Organic farming standards only guarantee that certain methods are used, it is not a guarantee that the farming is done well or that the produce will taste good or be of good quality.
- More importantly than any of the above: try growing some stuff organically yourself and then compare its flavor to both industrial farmed produce, corporate organic produce and locally sourced produce. You can still grow some stuff in an apartment - if nothing else, it serves as practice for when you have land to really pull it off. I can pretty much guarantee that its both better for you, and it will taste much better than corporate food - organic or otherwise.

In short, there is a difference between organic and non-organic, but there's probably more of a difference between corporate and locally produced. It's not only beneficial from a health perspective, but to counter the economic incentives towards monopoly, to support small-scale, local producers. There is always a price to pay for doing the right thing - for your body, for your community and for everything else. But the difference between locally sourced and corporate organic is close to zero anyway.
Interesting points. I tried to grow basil and oregano in my condo a few years ago but somehow got fruit flies. No idea what I did wrong. Might be worth trying again, maybe tomatoes or something this time, but I'll have to depend on supermarkets for the foreseeable future. A bit scary, especially after that frightening period we had for about a week two months ago when the shelves were mostly empty like Venezuela.
 

ilostabet

Pelican
Tomatoes are difficult, needs lots of direct sun and perfect soil conditions, plus very susceptible to disease. Not really a beginner plant. Try potatoes. Easy and big reward besides it's a beautiful plant. You can still plant them at this time of year. Five gallon bucket or felt pot, a little compost, a couple of hours of sun and you're set. Chard and spinach also somewhat easy and you can harvest leaves and they keep growing for a while.
 

acco

Woodpecker
I tried to grow basil and oregano in my condo a few years ago but somehow got fruit flies. No idea what I did wrong.
The following herbs thrive in my condon:
basil, chili, oregano, marjoram, chives, dill, rosemary and sage.
Garlic broth helps against white flies, but I don't like the smell in the air. Alternatively, at least once a day with your hand or a stick to chase away the flies or occasionally a hot shower, which gives the flies no chance.
I buy both herbs and plant them in a larger pot, as well as sowing them myself in spring.
There are also flypapers for potted plants, but I have not tried them yet.
 

bucky

Pelican
The following herbs thrive in my condon:
basil, chili, oregano, marjoram, chives, dill, rosemary and sage.
Garlic broth helps against white flies, but I don't like the smell in the air. Alternatively, at least once a day with your hand or a stick to chase away the flies or occasionally a hot shower, which gives the flies no chance.
I buy both herbs and plant them in a larger pot, as well as sowing them myself in spring.
There are also flypapers for potted plants, but I have not tried them yet.
Yes, I need to give basil another shot because I use it a lot and it would actually save me money to grow it at home. Herbs appeal to me because I think I could actually grow enough for my own use in a condo, whereas I imagine something like potatoes as more of a "proof of concept" in the sense that I highly doubt I could grow enough to avoid having to buy them at a supermarket.

I know ilostabet suggested spinach, which makes me wonder how much of that, or something like collard greens or kale, I could realistically grow in a condo. I knew a guy once who had a collard greens plant on his front lawn and it it was pretty big and grew insanely fast. He'd often give me tons of huge leaves from it because he had to cut them every few days due to how fast it would grow.
 

acco

Woodpecker
Yes, I need to give basil another shot because I use it a lot and it would actually save me money to grow it at home. Herbs appeal to me because I think I could actually grow enough for my own use in a condo, whereas I imagine something like potatoes as more of a "proof of concept" in the sense that I highly doubt I could grow enough to avoid having to buy them at a supermarket.

I know ilostabet suggested spinach, which makes me wonder how much of that, or something like collard greens or kale, I could realistically grow in a condo. I knew a guy once who had a collard greens plant on his front lawn and it it was pretty big and grew insanely fast. He'd often give me tons of huge leaves from it because he had to cut them every few days due to how fast it would grow.
But you have to eat a lot of basil when you compare the cost between buying and sowing. :)
I rather have an oversupply, so I am now considering processing my older basil plants into pesto, because the next generation is already growing up.
In order to cover your own potato needs you need a garden, and there is probably not enough space in an apartment for this.
Spinach, however, would be worth a try depending on the space available.
 

ilostabet

Pelican
It really depends a lot on space of course. If you have a balcony, potatoes are a good idea - for sure you won't produce as much as you need, but you'll get the experience for the future, the simple joy of getting things to grow and of eating something that came from your own efforts and you'll still save some money. If you only have window sills then herbs and greens for sure, in a 'cut and come again' method. As for starting from seed versus buying seedlings at a nursery, I always prefer from seed, but if you're starting now you should check your area and the seed starting times and start first from bought seedlings (though more expensive). Basil specifically you might want to try other types of basil other than the 'sweet' italian variety, like purple basil or some asian types, which are perennial.
 

acco

Woodpecker
you'll get the experience for the future, the simple joy of getting things to grow and of eating something that came from your own efforts
I have already had this experience in my childhood.
My parents had a house with a big garden and we children
of course had to help with the sowing and reaping.
In addition to the garden we always had 2 cattle, 2 pigs and 10 chickens.

So I had the luck to grow up with good food and alone
for that reason I would like to to have my own garden in the future
and maybe some animals, too.
 

gework

Ostrich
Gold Member
To the original question I take a similar position to ilostabet. With health and food advice you will hear everything. If you take ten bit of food advie and studies, add them together, they will probably tell you you will be dead in 10 years. So I go with intuition.

I think some of that info on pesticides is either deliberately misleading or deluded. Plant pesticides and manufactured pesticides aren't the same. You can drink concentrated plant pesticides and it'll make you ill, drink manufactured pesticides and you'll die. I don't want to be ingesting this stuff. I don't trust it and I suspect it's part of the rise in cancer.

I was only eating organic food food, but with the coronavirus the place I was buying vegtable deliveries from is fully booked up going forward. It's run by lefty types. They managed to keep their literature politically neutral. But recently they were in a flux because their entire management board was male and they wanted to get some women it. What a surprise there are no women managing your farms, since virtually no women want to be involved in agriculture. They want to get it to 50%. So I'll be dumping them. I don't want The Guardian mixed in with my food delivery. They need to keep politics out of it.

The advantage of the vegetable deliveries were I didn't have to waste 1-2 hours per week going to the shop to buy lower quality food. These organic deliveries are maybe 30% more expensive overall than going into the shop and buying non-organic, but if you put more than $5 an hour on your time it's a no-brainer.

I also used to buy large amounts of bulk organic food. Things like 25Kg of dedicated coconut, 25kG of kidney beans, a crate of pesto/mayonaise, 10Kg of sundried tomatoes.

Sundried tomatoes are one of the best - much cheaper to buy organic sundried than normal tomatoes.

I can't give you any names, but you should find organic wholesalers through the country. I used to buy from here:

http://www.survivalwholefoods.co.uk/index.aspx

When I was younger, poorer and more stationary I used to grow most of my vegetables for the year. The only dry period is March-April, but as you progress, you can up your storage.

I had a polytunnel, which gave me a bit of a bigger window.

Reccomentations

Armenian cucumber - quite difficult, requires good warmth



Courgette Trombochino -not as good falvour as normal, but unbelievable prolific. The can grow about 5-6 times the size of the large one in this photo



Cucumber Crystal Lemon - These small cucumberfruit earlier, longer, and give you a more constant supply than potentially waiting for larger ones to ripen. I used to grow them indoors too. Takes about 4 months. Plant in January, fruiting in April.



Sorrel - a leaf green that doesn't get slugged, has a tangy kiwi flavour and has a long season (cut and come again)



Kailan stem broccoli - very delicate taste, easiest brassica to grow (others are very susceptible to all types of attack)



Komatsuma - not the greatest taste, but this grow quickly early in the season - the first thing I used to eat from the crop



New Zealand Spinach - looks a bit leathery but great flavour; doesn't have that wilted dyingedge that some can have, very fresh and perky



Runner Bean Hesteria Dwarf - nice to put in hanging baskets

1589652158534.jpeg

Scorzonera and Salsify - great flavour, the black one tastes like oyster, but difficult to grow, small yield and hard to clean



Oca - Andean root crop, not as prolific as potatoes, but better flavour.You crop them after the first frost and then you've got about 4 months to eat them before they sprout, so a good winter staple



Anu 'Ken Aslet' - Similar to Oca but truly incredible flavour, also produces beautiful flowers, but low yield





Onion Long Red Florence - If you've never tasted freshly picked onions, you've never tasted onion, so oily and fresh. The best(IMO) is this small variety that you can crop earlier



Mexican Sour Gherkin



For winter my staples were Celariac, parsnip and leeks. Leeks are a general staple. With the right variety of leeks you can be cropping from about May to February, maybe March. You can also take Celeriac and Parsnips through to about February, before they start breaking down to drop their load. Celeriac and parsnips will also grow in zero direct light and produce good yields, so good for getting something out of dark spots.

I used to grow about 35 crops per season, plus the several fruit bushes and trees I still have. They only thing I never had come through was corn and sweet potatoes were really difficult too, at least in this climate.

I haven't grown anything since 2014. Hadn't really though about it much since then. Need to get back to the good old days.
 

Oberrheiner

Pelican
Probably if you want to grow stuff locally you should also pick local varieties, no ?
Otherwise you fight globalization on the market but then have it in your garden :)
 

911

Peacock
Gold Member
I spend a lot of money on organic food. Been wondering lately if it's worth it. As with almost everything about health, some sources say yes, some say no. I follow PD Mangan and his Rogue Health and Fitness blog (https://roguehealthandfitness.com/blog/) and he recently sent out an email that amounted to a resounding "no." Here are some interesting points he made:

Hormones and Antibiotics in Meat
  • Modern meat production makes use of hormones and antibiotics
  • However, these are safe for human consumption
  • Non-organic meat contains orders of magnitudes fewer hormones than other foods (soy, for example)
Humans and Pesticides
  • 99.99% (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.
  • Nearly all of the pesticide chemicals that humans are exposed to are natural, produced by the plants themselves
  • There’s little if any difference between natural and synthetic pesticides
  • Furthermore, the quantity of natural pesticides that humans ingest daily is many orders of magnitude greater than the amount of synthetic pesticides
What do you all think? Seems like I could save significant money by not buying as much organic food. I eventually want to get to where I'm hunting and growing a lot of my own food, but for now I live in a condo in a big city in a blue state, so my options for planting crops are very limited, and I don't own a rifle (yet) or have much of a clue about hunting.
I don't buy that, this looks like the kind of astroturfed study sponsored by Monsanto or the chemical industry. You don't get cancers by eating broccoli, if anything you might get it because you're not consuming enough anti-oxidant reach plants. You have workers in places like central America coming down with modern cancers from the treatment of banana crops, and these people have always eaten mostly vegetarian diets. DDT, glyphosates etc are on another level with the kind of damage they impart.

This being said, you could just focus on those plants that tend to have the highest levels of chemical treatments, like spinach for example, because the ratio of surface to volume is orders of magnitude higher than with say a round fruit like a peach, so there will be a lot more pesticide per serving. I also treat non-pesticide grown crops the same as organic, industrial fertilizer is not going to hurt you like pesticides do.

You don't get as much bang for your buck with those plants:





For those, you could peel the skin off for most of the ones on top, like apples. The wax and other stuff they spray on apples makes me slightly nauseous, so I try to get organic ones or would peel them if not organic:


 

acco

Woodpecker
You can only peel Apples, Pears and Potatoes.

How to handle Strawberries, Cherries, Spinach, Kale, Tomatoes?
 
I'll quote Jujimufu on this one:
Jujimufu said:
Look: purchasing organic fruits and vegetables from your grocery store is not going to be the “edge” you need to ascend to olympian levels of athletic performance. It won’t make you even 1% more jacked than you could be. It won’t give you extra energy. It won’t help you dub-dub on concrete. It’s not going to do anything noticeable at all for your performance. It’s not going to revolutionize your health and well being. Making the switch from conventional to organic isn’t going to safeguard you against cancer or heart disease. Switching from conventional to organic is just going to liquidate your purses.
Source: https://jujimufu.com/jujimufu-on-nutrition/

If I were in a situation where I could garden, I'd probably do that. But I see no reason to pay extra money for hypothetical benefits of having fewer pesticides in my food. Humans have been eating chemically altered food for centuries, and the race lives on. You cut out sugar, you see and feel the difference in your health and your physique. You switch to off the shelf "organic" food, and the effect is underwhelming.
 

911

Peacock
Gold Member
You can only peel Apples, Pears and Potatoes.

How to handle Strawberries, Cherries, Spinach, Kale, Tomatoes?
You can wash tomatoes with a bit of soap, rinse strawberries well, that helps a bit, but for spinash and kale look for pesticide free or organic. In any case, you're better off eating regular strawberries and spinach over not eating them at all.
 

Max Roscoe

Woodpecker
The taste issue is a good point. I typically skip buying organic for things like bananas, avocados, etc. where you throw away the peel / skin and it's not likely the pesticides can seep into the fruit, but organic food is grown/raised differently, and while there are certainly organic "factory farms", many organic farmers are going to be more concerned about quality, ie minerals in the soil, and other things that aren't specifically required by the organic label, but will nevertheless create better tasting more nutritious food. Many times these are difficult to quantify, such as the positive impacts of receiving sunlight and exercise/ muscular development that organic chickens get when raised in a field and not in a gross factory chicken coop.

Your username lead me to this thread Australia Sucks, because Australia has far better food quality than the US. I was visiting Australia about a decade ago, and was shocked to find even Burger King there was advertising "organic chicken" in their cheap products, when at the time back home, organic chicken was not even available in our grocery stores (this was right around the time Whole Foods was expanding--it is available now though our chicken is pretty gross in the US--I know chicken farmers who refuse to eat it).

Not sure if this was mentioned in the thread but there are a couple of services that do organic food delivery. I recently signed up for one called Misfits Market. It's all organic and often "ugly" / rejected fruits and veggies. The price is slightly better than grocery store non-organic sale prices, but you are also receiving stuff you may not be interested in. Cost is $20 or $25 per box.
 

Hell_Is_Like_Newark

Kingfisher
Gold Member
People I know who buy Organic are mostly looking to 'avoid pesticides'. If you notice, Organic doesn't advertise itself as 'pesticide free' because it isn't. I have several "Organic Approved" pesticides I use to control spider mites on my houseplants. I avoided using them on my (now defunct) hydroponic roof garden because they were more toxic and harder to wash off than the non-Organic alternatives.

If you want to avoid pesticides, look at food grown in indoor hydroponic gardens. The controlled environment reduces the need for pesticides. However, the Organic movement tried to ban hydroponics as being "Organic Approved" as the hydroponic operations were blowing traditional organic farmers out of the water with their much higher productivity.
 

acco

Woodpecker
People I know who buy Organic are mostly looking to 'avoid pesticides'. If you notice, Organic doesn't advertise itself as 'pesticide free' because it isn't.
I fully agree with this.

If nowadays "organic" is offered in supermarkets at only slightly higher prices, one has to ask oneself how this can work.
 
I tend to buy organic. As others have stated, it still has pesticides which are still harmful, but generally it is less harmful than non-organic. The best option is to buy from local farmers at farmers markets, join a CSA membership that has good farming practices (I joined one recently that uses no sprays), or to grow your own food, which requires more energy but is the most rewarding.

Diet and health are so important, so while I am a pretty frugal person, I like to spend more on healthy food... good quality vegetables/fruits, grass-fed beef, good fats and cooking oils, etc. I feel a lot better than when I ate unhealthy food, and my energy levels have skyrocketed. It is worth it to buy better quality foods, which organic food is a part of.
 
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