To me, it's about the pesticides: what they do to the workers who are surrounded by them day and night, what they do to the soil, and then there's the fact that then corporations have to genetically modify the vegetables so that the pesticides will continue working.
When I was little, there was an apple tree outside our apartment building. We kids would pick apples from it and bring them home, and the first thing parents would always ask is "That tree isn't sprayed, is it?"
I think it's a basic instinct to want to eat something that isn't sprayed with chemicals.
Addressing the issue of the taste test:
It might very well be the case that 'everything being equal' an organic tomato tastes noticeably better than a conventional tomato. Discovering that fact however, if it were true, would be damn near impossible.
Were the two items picked at the same time? Are they the same type of tomato? Were they grown in the same soil? Was one tended to better than the other. If you grew something in ideal conditions using pesticides and then grew the same type of vegetable or fruit in horrible conditions without using any pesticides would it be that much of a shock if the former looked or tasted better than the latter?
My point is that if you are going to do an organic vs non-organic taste test, IMHO there is a large burden on you to show that the processes by which the two samples were created are sufficiently similar to make the comparison even valid. They didn't do that at all on the show.
A good example of the effect of this is how Mark recommends that we eat local, conventional produce over distantly created, organic produce. The effect of a large transit time on quality of produce can often trump its lack of synthetic ingredients (pesticides, etc.).
"Organic" generically has pushed forth into the virtually meaningless, especially as an "approved label." Giant corporations are running technically organic farms that are vast in scale -- I think our lot is more interested in small-scale sustainable agriculture that tends to be organic in spirit if not in label.
So yeah, it's kinda BS and kinda not.
I recorded the episode and watched it the other night. I can see their point and they make a couple of interesting statements, but I am not on board with the way they went about it.
First, could they have found a worse representative of the "organic" movement as the couple that they used? Why couldn't they get some intelligent, competent people to talk with like Mark or just about anybody on this board?
Second, they didn't address meat at all, only produce and they touched on milk.
Lastly, if one does a little investigating into the "Hudson Institute" you'll find that they're industry shills. Take a look at some of where their funding comes from:
* Ag Processing Inc
* American Crop Protection Association
* American Cyanamid
* Archer Daniels Midland
* ConAgra Foods
* Conrad Black
* CropLife International
* Eli Lilly and Company
* Exxon Mobil
* Fannie Mae
* General Electric Fund
* Lilly Endowment
* National Agricultural Chemical Association
* Nichols-Dezenhall Communications Management Group
* Procter & Gamble
* Sunkist Growers
* Syngenta Crop Protection
* United Agri Products
* Westfield Corporation
Now THAT is what I call Bullshit.