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Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:22 PM

Organic farms yield less produce, require more land: study

Organic farming may yield up to a third less of some crop types, according to a study proposing a hybrid with conventional agriculture as the best way to feed the world without destroying it.

Organic farming seeks to limit the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, but critics suggest lower crop yields require bigger swaths of land for the same output as conventional farms.

This would mean parts of forests and other natural areas being turned into farmland, undoing some of the environmental gains of organic tilling methods, they say.

The new study by Canadian and American researchers, published in Nature Wednesday, found that organic yields are indeed as much as 34 percent lower for some crops -- 25 percent less overall.

http://www.france24.com/en/20120425-organic-farms-yield-less-produce-require-more-land-study

76 replies, 11082 views

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Reply Organic farms yield less produce, require more land: study (Original post)
FarCenter Apr 2012 OP
niyad Apr 2012 #1
FarCenter Apr 2012 #6
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #9
FarCenter Apr 2012 #14
4th law of robotics Apr 2012 #16
FarCenter Apr 2012 #17
yellowcanine Apr 2012 #40
FarCenter Apr 2012 #45
CreekDog Apr 2012 #71
jwirr Apr 2012 #63
4th law of robotics Apr 2012 #68
jwirr Apr 2012 #72
KansDem Apr 2012 #61
CreekDog Apr 2012 #69
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #7
4th law of robotics Apr 2012 #12
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #13
4th law of robotics Apr 2012 #15
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #20
4th law of robotics Apr 2012 #21
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #31
4th law of robotics Apr 2012 #33
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #35
yellowcanine Apr 2012 #41
hedgehog Apr 2012 #2
libinnyandia Apr 2012 #3
Gormy Cuss Apr 2012 #23
FarCenter Apr 2012 #26
Gormy Cuss Apr 2012 #30
CreekDog Apr 2012 #73
jwirr Apr 2012 #64
musiclawyer Apr 2012 #4
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #10
NoMoreWarNow Apr 2012 #43
gratuitous Apr 2012 #5
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #11
Blue_Tires Apr 2012 #42
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #8
Vehl Apr 2012 #18
flvegan Apr 2012 #19
bigwillq Apr 2012 #24
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #34
meaculpa2011 Apr 2012 #53
bigwillq Apr 2012 #57
meaculpa2011 Apr 2012 #58
bigwillq Apr 2012 #60
yellowcanine Apr 2012 #36
Mendocino Apr 2012 #52
The Midway Rebel Apr 2012 #22
LynneSin Apr 2012 #25
yellowcanine Apr 2012 #37
Lost-in-FL Apr 2012 #27
MineralMan Apr 2012 #39
Lost-in-FL Apr 2012 #49
MineralMan Apr 2012 #56
FarCenter Apr 2012 #28
cali Apr 2012 #29
jwirr Apr 2012 #67
Pisces Apr 2012 #32
sendero Apr 2012 #38
NoMoreWarNow Apr 2012 #44
sendero Apr 2012 #46
quaker bill Apr 2012 #47
jtuck004 Apr 2012 #48
joshcryer Apr 2012 #50
humus Apr 2012 #51
Lars77 Apr 2012 #54
humus Apr 2012 #65
Lars77 Apr 2012 #76
PuraVidaDreamin Apr 2012 #55
mainer Apr 2012 #59
nobodyspecial Apr 2012 #62
mainer Apr 2012 #66
nobodyspecial Apr 2012 #75
piratefish08 Apr 2012 #70
piratefish08 Apr 2012 #74

Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:25 PM

1. and I wonder who funded this study

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Response to niyad (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:44 PM

6. The authors declare no competing financial interests

Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11069.html
Abstract

Affiliations

Department of Geography and Global Environmental and Climate Change Center, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H2T 3A3, Canada
Verena Seufert &
Navin Ramankutty

Institute on the Environment (IonE), University of Minnesota, 1954 Buford Avenue, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA
Jonathan A. Foley

Contributions

V.S. and N.R. designed the study. V.S. compiled the data and carried out data analysis. All authors discussed the results and contributed to writing the paper.

Competing financial interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


Organic farming is rarely enough
http://www.nature.com/news/organic-farming-is-rarely-enough-1.10519
Review Article

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:46 PM

9. Who funded it?

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:23 PM

14. It looks like it was funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

via the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. $2.2 million in 2011.

http://www.geog.mcgill.ca/~nramankutty/ProspectiveStudents/ProspectiveStudents.html

http://www.moore.org/grants-awarded.aspx

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #14)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:49 PM

16. Everyone knows the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment is a subsidiary of Monsanto

 

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #16)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:57 PM

17. And the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation looks to be a front for the Koch brothers...

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #17)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:37 PM

40. How so? I think you should provide some evidence for such a claim.

Maybe it is true but just saying it is not enough.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #40)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 05:16 PM

45. I was being sarcastic -- take a look at the link; they support a wide range of environmental causes.

Here is also a link the U of MN Institute on the Environment. http://environment.umn.edu/

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:02 PM

71. are you making fun of liberals?

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #16)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:33 PM

63. Anyone who has driven through southern Minnesota has seen all the Monsanto signs and I would

guess that you are correct. Just like the University in Ames Iowa is a good college but into agrobiz totally.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #63)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:50 PM

68. Hold on a sec,

 

having signs in the same *state* invalidates all research done at public universities within that state?

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #68)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:07 PM

72. Of course not and that is not what I said. But having a huge business in the back yard is reason

to believe that the University might have some interest in that business. I actually think the study is correct but to me it makes no difference. I raise my own organic foods.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:58 AM

61. Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Background
Established in 2000 in CA.

Founded by Gordon and Betty Moore. Dr. Moore is co-founder of Intel Corporation and is most widely known for his 1965 prediction that the number of transistors the semi-conductor industry would be able to place on a computer chip would double every 12 months. What was intended as a rule of thumb quickly became known as "Moore's Law" and a guiding principle for the delivery of ever more powerful computer chips at proportionately lower costs.

The foundation seeks to advance environmental conservation and scientific research around the world and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Purpose and Activities
As responsible stewards of the resources entrusted to them, the foundation forms and invests in partnerships to achieve significant, lasting and measurable results in environmental conservation, science and the San Francisco Bay Area. The majority of funding is directed to organizations whose work supports the foundation's initiatives in its three major program areas.

Program Area(s)
The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Environment Conservation
The foundation's Environmental Conservation Program works to change the ways in which people use terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal marine ecosystems to conserve critical ecological systems and functions, while allowing sustainable use.

San Francisco Bay Area
The goals of the foundation's San Francisco Bay Area Program are to improve the quality of life by sustaining healthy Bay Area ecosystems and conserving critical landscapes; enhancing science education and learning especially for children, and improving the quality of care provided to adults during and following hospitalization.

Science
The foundation's Science Program aims to make a significant impact on the development of provocative, transformative scientific research, and increase knowledge in emerging fields.

Fields of Interest
Subjects
Environment
Science

Selected Grants
The following grants were reported in 2010:

$8,639,634 to Tides Canada Foundation, Vancouver, Canada. For Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area Initiative to produce an Integrated Marine Management Plan, payable over 1 year.

$5,000,000 to California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. For new experiments designed to understand casual link between gene functions, the brain, and behavior, payable over 1 year.

$2,446,138 to Stanford University, Stanford, CA. To study coral resilience in the field and via sea anemone model system, payable over 1 year.

$566,953 to New Forests Advisory, San Francisco, CA. To design ecosystem service products and incentives for private landowners in Brazil, payable over 1 year.

$550,000 to University of California, San Francisco, CA. For Magnet Readiness to improve nursing-related patient outcomes, payable over 1 year.

$299,550 to Nature Conservancy, Durham, NC. To make Global Scale Conservation Datasets available on Google's Earth Engine, payable over 1 year.

________
Source: Foundation Center, New York

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:52 PM

69. yes, and steroids and unhealthy supplements can make you stronger

for a while.

get the analogy?

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Response to niyad (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:45 PM

7. Monsanto or one of their ilk

Probably.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:56 PM

12. Why is it "probably" monsanto?

 

Because they came to the wrong conclusions?

I suspect if they'd found the opposite you wouldn't be fretting over whether they got their funding from a pro-organic source.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #12)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:19 PM

13. Yes because the pro-organic sources

are flush with billions of dollars just like Monsanto.

There IS such a thing as 'scale', you know?

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #13)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:48 PM

15. And only billions of dollars can taint a research project

 

not millions or hundreds of thousands, what with research scientists being so flush with money right now that they won't even bother applying for a grant if it's less than "billions of dollars".

Look the point is that this person came to the conclusion that it was Monsanto based on nothing other than the results. There were no indicators in the research that it was biased, merely the result didn't suit him/her.

That's pretty silly. So the conclusion came first and then the science was adjusted to match it: "good science" (that which supported the conclusion) is kept but "bad science" (that which did not support the conclusion) is clearly put out exclusively by monsanto and must be rejected.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:54 PM

20. Wow you twisted that post so much

I'm surprised it doesn't look like a piece of licorice now that you're done.

First - haha on you're 'scientists being bribed' crap. That's not what I'm saying. To set up research that looks legit takes a lot of money. It's not just about bribing scientists (if that even happens and I don't think it does - directly) it's a whole system of deception. Set up a large 'research' study, maybe a whole research centre that is affiliated with a reputable university. Donate lots to that university. Then you need to sit on the board of major scientific research publishers. Then, when your study is done, you need a system of distribution for the 'results'. You do know that most of the 'medical breakthroughs' on the news are submitted by large corporations looking to get promotion for their particular 'discovery'? Same for scientific research. If you can agree that most news in the country is controlled by the right (as most aware dems know) then that particular 'research news' is usually slanted towards what those companies would like you to hear.

You say that this person came the conclusion that it was Monsanto based on nothing other than the results. I beg to differ - it's a pattern of behavior, this research didn't happen in a vacuum. Just the fact that the headline doesn't match with what the long term results indicates says more than knowing who are the real donors.

I see someone has already figured out who the front is. Quel surprise!

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #20)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 11:35 AM

21. You are completely misrepresenting how research works

 

most medical research in this country is done at public universities.

You have built up this whole conspiracy to "prove" that *any* negative data on organic farming must be part of a vast conspiracy.

Is it at all possible in your mind that organic farming might not be ideal on every single criteria?

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #21)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:11 PM

31. According to this study

organic farming is not ideal in the transition years. I'll give it that. I'll also say organic farming is likely more labour intensive and has a smaller profit margin. I don't have my mind made up. I listen to science. I just know, from following medical research, that there are often layers upon layers of funding and when you get to the bottom of it, you find out there are plenty of conflicts of interest. I haven't 'built' anything, it's just the way it is. BTW, medical research can be done AT public universities, but they still have donors to those universities, they don't operate in some sort of gov't only funding paradise. And sometimes those donors have ties to industry. I'm sorry that because I'd like to know the sources of all funding for each study cited that makes me a conspiracy theorist in your mind.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #31)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:15 PM

33. There's a huge difference between:

 

remaining skeptical and waiting on the science to pan out and automatically declaring any research conclusions that you don't like to be the product of an industrial conspiracy (as the person I was responding to did). You seem to have forgotten that. The comment was that it "must" be Monsanto funding this. Based solely on the conclusions. Which were pretty mild. They didn't say "only spraying with Monsanto brand pesticides is acceptable, all other pesticides don't work and organic farming is impossible!".

For instance: if you were to say that maybe vaccines have a tie to autism, maybe not let's wait on see. That would be acceptable. If instead you were to say autism is caused by vaccines and any study that shows otherwise is obviously propaganda put out by big pharma, well that's a whole different animal.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #33)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:23 PM

35. I agree to a point

I'm naturally skeptical because of what I've learned in my marketing courses. So many of these studies are marketed to report conclusions that didn't even happen in the actual study. I don't immediately disregard, but I do have skepticism when I see any anti-organic studies. If I do some digging and find out there is no conflicts of interest, fine, but not too long ago here in Canada, there was a documentary about even the highest, most respected academic minds here were not declaring possible conflicts of interest on their research and NO ONE knew, or was calling them on it until this documentary. Apparently that's the general way of operating according to interviews with plenty of other universities around North America, so I generally come from a place of skepticism first and foremost. And I see from re-reading this study that the headline does not match the conclusion, which support my original marketing theory. I have no problems waiting for further studies. I generally don't automatically accept a conclusion from one specific study, I wait for the entire body of evidence (and then make sure one side isn't funded by X while the other side is funded by Y).

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #20)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:43 PM

41. I believe the "front posts" were supposed to be jokes in response to the "It was Monsanto" claims.

I could be wrong but that is what it looks like.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:30 PM

2. You have to take a long term outlook -

"After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system. "

http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst30years

Organic corn yields were 31% higher than conventional in years of drought. These drought yields are remarkable when compared to genetically engineered “drought tolerant” varieties which saw increases of only 6.7% to 13.3% over conventional (non-drought resistant) varieties.

Corn and soybean crops in the organic systems tolerated much higher levels of weed competition than their conventional counterparts, while producing equivalent yields. This is especially significant given the rise of herbicide-resistant weeds in conventional systems, and speaks to the increased health and productivity of the organic soil (supporting both weeds and crop yields).

http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst30years/yields

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:34 PM

3. The article did say that the difference declines over time. I wish they had been more specific

on that.

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Response to libinnyandia (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 12:16 PM

23. The article ended with that as a throw-away line when in fact it is a key finding

and consistent with earlier studies. The reason organic farming yields are lower is usually tied to soil depletion.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 01:20 PM

26. It's primarily nitrogen that is the limiting factor

In the Nature review article (link above) it says:
Cereals and vegetables need lots of nitrogen to grow, suggesting that the yield differences are in large part attributable to nitrogen deficiencies in organic systems, says Seufert.

This limitation can be removed by either rotating with nitrogen fixing crops, which requires more land, or by using nitrogen fertilizer.

The Haber process for fixing nitrogen by using natural gas was critical in developing modern agriculture.
The Haber process is important today because the fertilizer generated from ammonia is responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth's population. It is estimated that half of the protein within human beings is made of nitrogen that was originally fixed by this process, the remainder was produced by nitrogen fixing bacteria and archaea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haber_process

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #26)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:07 PM

30. Nitrogen-fixing crops can be rotated in off seasons or shoulder seasons (depending on climate)

and some nitrogen-fixing crops like legumes have market value which is beneficial to the farmers. Even without waiting for full market value, the nitrogen-fixing can be accomplished in a couple of months for fast growing covers like small seeded fava beans -- the maximum nitrogen-fixing occurs when the plant is still flowering. The immature plants can either be tilled under or in a no-till system, harvested for leaves with stems composted.

That said, there are also OMRI-listed high nitrogen fertilizer products on the market and thus heavy nitrogen feeding requirements alone aren't a barrier to better yields from organic methods.





on edit: FarCenter's link downthread has the following:
The key limit to further yield increases via organic methods appears to be nitrogen—large doses of synthetic fertilizer can keep up with high demand from crops during the growing season better than the slow release from compost, manure or nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Of course, the cost of using 171 million metric tons of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is paid in dead zones at the mouths of many of the world's rivers. These anoxic zones result from nitrogen-rich runoff promoting algal blooms that then die and, in decomposing, suck all the oxygen out of surrounding waters. "To address the problem of limitation and to produce high yields, organic farmers should use best management practices, supply more organic fertilizers or grow legumes or perennial crops," Seufert says.


IOW, looking simply at yield differences ignores the cost of those high yields in terms of runoff damage.



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Response to FarCenter (Reply #26)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:07 PM

73. but applied nitrogen in runoff decreases the yield from our waterways by polluting them

harming fish, and other aspects of ecosystem.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:39 PM

64. That is what I was thinking - also the continued fertilization of the soil is supposed to cut the

productivity of that soil. I am not sure that is true but we seem to have to use more and more fertilizer every year.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:41 PM

4. If even if the conclusions are bullet proof, so what.

In the industrialized counties, it's not a zero sum game. You don't need to cut down trees for more farms. Detroit could feed itself and half of Michigan if it just reclaimed its unused real estate as organic farms

If we are talking about feeding the third world, it's more a matter of water and political will than destruction of more land.

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Response to musiclawyer (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:47 PM

10. Good post

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Response to musiclawyer (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:50 PM

43. true-- the lower pollution should offset the increased land, even in a worse case scenario

 

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:41 PM

5. Shouldn't be a problem

Study after study over the last eight years show that the U.S. wastes anywhere from one quarter to one half of its food production. We tighten up our food handling practices, and we could all eat organic just fine. But a healthier population doesn't fit the business model for a lot of industrial concerns, so that's out. Better to just bad-mouth organic farming.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:48 PM

11. Also a good post

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:48 PM

42. +1000

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:46 PM

8. People can quit eating so much red meat

All that land used to grow corn to feed cattle can be used to grow more veggies, right?

Who funded this study?

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #8)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:01 PM

18. This

The Study fails to look at the big picture.

Even with Factory farming, a pound of red meat is 3 times as inefficient as a pound of veggies/grain.
Unless people moderate their fast food-meat guzzling ways a bit, how can one see any improvement?

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Response to Vehl (Reply #18)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:49 PM

19. 3 times?

I think you're lowballing that.

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Response to Vehl (Reply #18)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 12:20 PM

24. How much does price play a role in this?

 

"Unless people moderate their fast food-meat guzzling ways a bit..."


Produce is not cheap, at least not where I shop.

But one can potentially feed a family from the McDonald's Dollar Menu at generally low cost.

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Response to bigwillq (Reply #24)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:16 PM

34. I think that is because

certain industries are subsidized (grain, beef) and others are not (produce).

Produce here is so insanely expensive - the other day I paid $7 for a bag of apples that lasts my 4 kids 3 days for snacks. (1/day/kid). Yet I can buy a large box of 32 sugar filled granola bars for $8. WTF is wrong with that picture?

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Response to bigwillq (Reply #24)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:35 AM

53. Even the "Dollar Menu" dinner...

for a family of four costs nearly $14 with tax. I can feed my family of four a healthy dinner, bought in the local supermarket and prepared in my own kitchen for less. Last night: Grilled chicken, butternut squash, romaine/tomato/cucumber salad and grilled asparagus. All in, less than $14 and we live just outside NYC.

The most expensive item on the menu? The kids had soda. Along with the soda they have to consume a lecture from their parents about how corrosive that stuff is. Each 16 ounce soda costs $1.29 (they bought it themselves). At $1.49 per pound, each grilled chicken breast costs about 75 cents. I must confess though, the other night I got a call on my way home from work. "Dad, will you bring me home a bottle of Coke?, Please." I did. The President should appoint a teenaged girl as U.S. Trade Representative.

Mom and Dad had a bit of wine with dinner, AKA Parenting Tonic. (Three-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's)

We have to smash the myth that eating healthy is expensive. Fast food is expensive, even off the Dollar Menu. Plus, look at any fast-food joint. There are very few patrons eating dollar burgers and value fries.

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Response to meaculpa2011 (Reply #53)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:28 AM

57. True but

 

I could have 2 double cheesburgers, a value fry and a value soda for $4 and change, while the one of the salads McDonalds offers is like $6 or $7

Every penny counts in these tough times.

I do agree, though, eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive. I just wish there could be more healthier options on the dollar menu.
I don't think unhealthy foods should be on the dollar menu. But again, no one's forcing anyone to eat the unhealthy options, and McDonalds does advertise their healthier fare.

I guess, in the end, its up to the consumer to take responsibility for what they eat.

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Response to bigwillq (Reply #57)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:58 AM

58. I don't mean to be...

snotty, but if you want a salad why would you go to McDonald's?

The reason that healthier choices aren't plentiful in fast-food outlets (I refuse to call them restaurants) and the prepared food section of the supermarket is that they don't sell.

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Response to meaculpa2011 (Reply #58)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:46 AM

60. I eat salads all the time at McDonalds.

 

They're one of the few things I eat there.

Had a Chicken Cobb salad during my last trip to Duchess as well.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:24 PM

36. Except that most land is better suited for permanent pasture than annual crops like veggies.

It is possible to raise cattle on grass. Kind of hard for people to eat grass though.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:52 AM

52. Or any meat.

.The day is coming quickly when meat will be only available to the very rich. We may as well transition to a plant-based or mostly plant- based food sources as soon as possible. Meat is like oil, as long as you are willing to pay a higher and higher cost for it, you will be able to get it. But unlike oil there is an lower priced alternative, plants.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 11:47 AM

22. What do we want? What can we afford? Space or sustainability.

More land use but no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers that pollute, lakes, river and streams and degrade the environment and destroy ecosytems. This is not a tough call for me.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 12:22 PM

25. But what about the health risk of organic vs. non-organic

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Response to LynneSin (Reply #25)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:31 PM

37. What is the relative health risk? The spinach scare a few years back was organic spinach.

Not sure that any conclusions can be drawn one way or the other. Some of the pesticides used on organic food are more acutely toxic than those used in conventional food production. So it all comes down to whether they were properly used or not and whether pre harvest intervals were followed.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 01:25 PM

27. Umhumm...

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Response to Lost-in-FL (Reply #27)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:37 PM

39. Where is that located? I'd like to visit it.

Do you have a link?

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #39)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:45 AM

49. Still in the concept stage but it seems it is possible.

Here's a link from an article I read from last year:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,775754,00.html

It includes some nice graphics too.

http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-70665.html

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Response to Lost-in-FL (Reply #49)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:13 AM

56. Oh. Thanks.

The images looked like a real building.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 01:35 PM

28. Will Organic Food Fail to Feed the World?

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 01:37 PM

29. Frankly, I think local is more important than organic

 

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Response to cali (Reply #29)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:47 PM

67. I think I agree with you. If we were using our resources on a local level (even in developing

nations) we would have a lot of unused land without cutting down the forests.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:14 PM

32. Maybe so, but maybe if we respected our food and didn't waste so much it wouldn't matter. I'll take

my fruit and vegetables minus poison thank you very much. Our neighborhood is thinking about starting a coop organic garden.
I think this is the only way to ensure that it is truly organic.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:36 PM

38. Anybody that didn't know that already.

... well I don't know what to say.

I still eat organic when possible and of course if you stop larding your plants with nutrients they will produce less.

But what they do produce is of much higher quality.

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Response to sendero (Reply #38)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:51 PM

44. yeah, it's kind of obvious, isn't it

 

but the non-organic produce is like stuff grown on steroids-- pumped up with stuff more cell mass but lower nutrient concentrations.

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Response to NoMoreWarNow (Reply #44)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 05:21 PM

46. Exactly..

.. and lower in taste as well.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 05:21 PM

47. Consider me unsurprised

and I grow organic at home, because if I want sprayed food, I can just buy it.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 05:30 PM

48. But Roundup lets one use less land, and provides that just right smoky flavor. n/t

 

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:55 AM

50. This is uncontroversial, but this is geoagriculture. Use hydroponics, and the like...

...and I would bet that proper organics would completely obliterate anything Monasto could put out, by miles.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:41 AM

51. "benefits" of industrial agriculture:

The tomato was grown in Mexico from a hybrid seed patented by a
genetic-engineering firm. The farm was fumigated with methyl-
bromide, one of the most ozone-depleting chemicals in existence, the
doused with toxic pesticides; the toxic byproducts of manufacturing
the pesticide ended up in the world's largest toxic waste dump, in
Alabama. The tomato was packaged in a plastic tray covered with
plastic wrap, and placed on a cardboard box. The plastic was
manufactured with chlorine, a process that produces extremely toxic
byproducts, in Point Comfort, Texas, while the cardboard originated
in an old-growth forest in British Columbia, was manufactured in the
Great Lakes, and was then shipped to the Mexican farm. The entire
process was fueled by oil from the Gulf of Campeche, Mexico. The
packed tomatoes were artificially ripened through the application of
ethylene, then transported in refrigerated trucks cooled by ozone-
depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons to consumers throughout North
America. At several points in the process, workers and nearby
residents risked potentially harmful health effects through exposure
to various toxins. And needless to say, a tomato thus produced
doesn't offer much in the way of flavor, especially when compared to
a mouth-watering `Brandywine' tomato grown organically in the
backyard."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/08/us-food-idUSTRE7272FN20110308

(Reuters) - Many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting to ecological agriculture from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday.

Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh's use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among examples of steps taken to increase food for a world population that the United Nations says will be 7 billion this year and 9 billion by 2050.

"Agriculture is at a crossroads," according to the study by Olivier de Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a drive to depress record food prices and avoid the costly oil-dependent model of industrial farming.

"Agroecology" could also make farms more resilient to the projected impact of climate change including floods, droughts and a rise in sea levels that the report said was already making fresh water near some coasts too salty for use in irrigation.

So far, eco-farming projects in 57 nations had shown average crop yield gains of 80 percent by tapping natural methods for enhancing soil and protecting against pests, it said.

Recent projects in 20 African countries had resulted in a doubling of crop yields within three to 10 years. Those lessons could be widely mimicked elsewhere, it said.



To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.

- Wendell Berry

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:56 AM

54. Its obvious that organic farming have lower yields

If it did not, "conventional (chemical)" farming would have no purpose.

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Response to Lars77 (Reply #54)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:41 PM

65. Its obvious that a healthy meal will take longer to make



If it did not, McDonald's would have no purpose.

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Response to humus (Reply #65)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 07:12 PM

76. So why is this news? Sounds like the GM food lobby wrote it.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:32 AM

55. I'd love to see a study that includes the use of Permaculture techniques.

including companion planting, utilizing every space to its full potential.
IMO the yields would put monoculture to shame.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 10:20 AM

59. Even organic farms use herbicides

I came across an article that said organic farms do use herbicides (pre-treating soil before the seed crop is planted), and if you use the correct ones, it's still considered acceptable.

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Response to mainer (Reply #59)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:33 PM

62. I think you are a bit confused.

In order to remain certified, organic farms cannot use traditional chemical herbicides. Organic herbicides rely on ingredients like vinegar and citric acid.

All Down Organic Grass and Weed Killer
Source: SummerSet Products, Inc. Bloomington, MN
Active Ingredients: Citric Acid - 5.0%, Garlic - .2%,
Other Ingredients: Acetic Acid, Yucca Extracts and water – 94.8%
Ground Force Organic Herbicide
Source: Abby Laboratories, Inc., Ramsey, MN
Active Ingredients: Citric acid - 10.0%, Garlic extract - 0.2%
Inactive Ingredients: Vinegar, yucca extract and water - 89.8%
Burn Out II - Weed and Grass Killer
Source: St. Gabriel Laboratories, Orange, Virginia
Active Ingredients: Clove Oil - 4.0%, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - 3.0%
Other Ingredients: Vinegar, Lecithin, Citric Acid, Mineral Oil and water - 93%
Everything Must Go!TM
Source: Farm Extracts, Inc., St. Paul, MN
Active Ingredients: Citric Acid - 10.0%, Garlic Oil - 5.0%, Lauryl sulfate - 1.0%
Inert Ingredients: Acetic Acid and water - 84%

http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/YGLNews/YGLN-Mar0106.html

Organic Herbicides

Organic Herbicides Ingredients include concentrated d- limonene, clove oil, cinnamon oil, vinegar, and citric acid. These herbicides are non-selective and non-systemic, meaning any plant sprayed will be affected, and they kill the above surface foliage of plants.

Non-Selective Synthetic herbicides can "select" which types of plants the chemicals will effect. Organic herbicides cannot do this and so are "non-selective."

Non-Systemic Synthetic herbicides go into the system of plants, organic herbicides do not, and so are "non-systemic."

Note to Certified Organic Farmers: While we do our best to stay current with product OMRI listings, be sure to check with your certifying organization for a current list of approved (or banned) products.
http://www.groworganic.com/weed-pest-control/organic-weed-control/organic-herbicide.html

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Response to nobodyspecial (Reply #62)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:46 PM

66. I wish I could dig up that article...

it was in something like Smithsonian or Nat Geo about one or two years ago, and it talked about how even organic farms must use herbicides to clean up the soil prior to planting, because weeds would otherwise completely choke out their crop. I don't remember the herbicide they mentioned, but it didn't sound like anything you listed.

I remember I was very surprised to read that.

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Response to mainer (Reply #66)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 03:48 PM

75. I wish you could as well

or any other one that backs up your contention that organic farms use herbicides. If they do use anything other than the ones I have outlined it is NOT an organic farm.


Organic Herbicides and Bioherbicides

A limited number of products have been developed that organic growers can spray for weed control. Natural-product herbicides allowed for organic production, including acetic acid (concentrated vinegar), essential oils, and natural allelochemicals, are nonselective contact herbicides most useful for spot treatments of, for example, a localized infestation by a new weed species, or poison ivy on fencerows or near a farm stand. The Organic Materials Review Institute lists products that are allowed and those not allowed for use on organic farms, including herbicide products. A few bioherbicides based on specific fungal pathogens have been developed against specific weed species that have become especially problematic in particular regions. At this time, however, organic herbicides and bioherbicides play a minor role in the organic weed control toolbox. See the related article Can I Use This Input On My Organic Farm? for further information.
http://www.extension.org/pages/18532/an-organic-weed-control-toolbox


Find me one thing that backs up your contention other than this vague something I read one time... Like I said, they may have used the term herbicide, but it would have had to have meant a natural one.

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Response to mainer (Reply #59)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:01 PM

70. NO synthetic herbicides can be used here in VT for organic farming. Zero. in fact, the growing

land has to be synthetic free for 3 YEARS prior to calling a crop organic.

certain buffer zones need to be adhered to as well if neighboring farmers are non-organic......

manure, compost and limestone are allowed for use.


mileage may vary in other states - i have no idea....

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:20 PM

74. Organic farms DO yield less and require more land - the alternative is deadly food.

we as a nation have agreed with our wallets to trade nutrition and a farming industry for low cost, nutrition-less, poison shit.

what a stupid fucking argument.

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