Skeptic, you have not been to my local Farmers Market. There are plenty of farms who do not use pesticides. I have a garden and it's quite possible to grow food without using pesticides, and we didn't have much loss either.
FWIW, "Organic" is a strictly designated term in the UK (/Europe?) although the concept is the same.
I'm not too fussed about vegetables, although I hate seeing acres of monoculture devoid of wildlife.
For me, organic is more to do with animal welfare and a sustainable way of farming. And yes, it IS inefficient, but it preserves and rebuilds the soil, it medicates animals only when they're sick.
So my priorities are seasonal/local (no point having organic green beans flown from Kenya!); organic if possible for meat/eggs, or free range at the least.
There are conflicting studies on nutrition. I find it plausable (sp?) that a plant takes a wide range of nutrient from the soil, so if we only replace N, P, and K we will suffer lower levels of other nutrients in our produce. I'm prepared to admit that on a meat based diet, maybe we don't need as much vegetable nutrition as we think? But animals suffer from mineral-depleted soil - cows and selenium for example, or sheep and copper.
I am not a fan of the Humpty Dumpties co-opting and redefining the word "organic". It's the same reason I can't call myself a liberal.
Mass-produced organics may not always taste better, but my God, there is absolutely no comparison for the taste of a garden-grown Heirloom and a standard grocery store tomato.
@Eric - sure, I know organic farmers use some natural pesticides on plants that cannot be grown without them. The farm I buy from releases ladybugs to control some pests, and they use a few organic-approved agents on other plants.
One example: they apply a carefully-timed squirt of mineral oil to the top of each ear of corn. If done correctly, it prevents the corn from being infested with worms. Last year, they did not get it quite right, and when I forgot the corn in my car overnight, I ended up with corn worms all over my car. Yuck. This year they got the timing right. ;-)
Unlike many commercially used synthetic pesticides, there is no evidence that organic-approved agents harm the health of the people who are applying them. For that reason alone I am much more comfortable feeding them to my kids.
Oh, and as Diana mentioned, we also grow veggies at home without pesticides, and we lose very little of it to bugs. When we have had problems with loss in the past, the next year we've looked for heirloom varieties reputed to be resistant to the pest that caused the problem.
Count me in the pro-poop side!
I dont buy strictly organic either.
Although the benefits do buying pastured meat is documented with the much better Omega 3:6 ratios.
Another "vote" for local grown when possible. I concentrate on buying food directly from the producer. That means a lot of local hunted game meat and local grass fed beef. It is a far cheaper meat source where I happen to live (Black Hills of SD) as this is cattle and buffalo country. The rancher I buy from isn't "organic" but rather an old school skeptic, he doesn't trust chemicals, injections and is too cheap to buy grain feed for his stock.
And that puts me into seasonality in my food supply. Obviously I have things (like a chest freezer) Grok didn't, but my foods rotate seasonally, and winter becomes meat season. Not that I am ascetic about this! I'll buy foods from outta town as need/wants dictate (eggs from out of state once winter shutters my local sources, or walnuts, or avocados, or such to fill out a recipe for guests.
Organic certainly has become a marketing schtick co-opted by big biz. But any reasonable person can investigate his food supply and adjust as he/she sees fit. Blindly buying "organic" may not be the best way in every instance.
I prefer true organic foods from biodiverse, regional farms. They don't use pesticides because they don't have to. Thier methods are healthy for the land, and healthy land leads to healthy animals and crops.
No one will ever convince me that technology can give us "SAFE synthetic pesticides". And the "resilient gene-enhanced crops that yield abundantly" are suspect in my eyes. We are not gods to think we can improve on nature by manipulating genetic materials. Our track record in selective breeding with plants hasn't been that great, either, as it is left us with fruit that has too much sugar and cereals that have too much gluten.
Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
Current weight: 199