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rahimlee54
03-31-2012, 09:14 AM
Do you guys buy organic? I have a love hate relationship with it. It taste good but my wallet hates it.

Sometimes I do and sometimes I do not, I was wondering if you guys had opinions on it.

Crothcipt
03-31-2012, 10:36 AM
I am more afraid of gmo's than i am worried about organic. I buy it when my wallet will allow.

Eamon Burke
03-31-2012, 12:04 PM
I buy as local as possible. Most locavore farmers/ranchers/growers do organic or better. I'll pay a premium to get food from someone I have a chance of meeting at a gas station before I pay a premium for a government regulatory stamp.

The Edge
03-31-2012, 12:14 PM
I do try to buy organic as much as possible, but more importantly, I try to buy local. If they are available in your community, look for a food coop in your city. Often times, after joining, the produce will be cheaper than you can buy in a grocery store, and you'll get a lot more input on what's doing well, as well as being able to talk to the people that grow your food.

ajhuff
03-31-2012, 12:22 PM
When I could afford it I did. Now just buy organic milk. Buying local is only an option in the summer. I do some but it is very inconvenient.

-AJ

Talal
04-01-2012, 08:14 AM
for certain fruits and veggies i try to eat organic as much as possible, as i know them to be more tainted with unwanted junk. Such as Apples, Grapes, Celery, berries . Milk and eggs i also buy natural and organic where applicable

check this image out, a friend recently sent to me

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b224/munky420/OrganicVsConventionalSoilManagement.jpg

ajhuff
04-01-2012, 09:06 AM
I'm trying to cut back on my sodium though.

:D

-AJ

Eamon Burke
04-01-2012, 03:48 PM
It is also worth mentioning that there are some foods, the "dirty dozen" that are covered in pesticides and herbicides.

Check this out:
http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214


I used to handle a lot of herbicides, and sometimes at Kroger, I go to smell fruits to check for quality and I get smacked in the face with a recognizable fume. IME Strawberries, Chilean Grapes, and Apples are all the worst offenders for this.

Andrew H
04-01-2012, 03:58 PM
for certain fruits and veggies i try to eat organic as much as possible, as i know them to be more tainted with unwanted junk. Such as Apples, Grapes, Celery, berries . Milk and eggs i also buy natural and organic where applicable

check this image out, a friend recently sent to me

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b224/munky420/OrganicVsConventionalSoilManagement.jpg
Great graphic.

joec
04-01-2012, 04:02 PM
Most of the grocery stores I buy from here such as Kroger's and Whole Foods sell organic which I do buy. Food is the one thing I insist on being of great quality and don't skimp on.

TB_London
04-01-2012, 04:42 PM
Interesting graphic, though the research paper it is based in has been updated with the following:

A study conducted at Rutgers University (Bear et al., 1948) is frequently misquoted as evidence supporting the position that organically grown vegetables are significantly superior in minerals and trace elements to conventionally grown vegetables. In reviewing the original publication, one can clearly see that this was not the intention of the study nor does it give support to this premise. The purpose of the study was to compare the mineral composition of vegetables "as one proceeds from south to north and from east to west in the United States." Samples of cabbage, lettuce, snapbean, spinach, and tomatoe were obtained from commercial fields of these crops and analyzed for mineral composition. A total of 204 samples were examined. The vegetables sampled were usually, but not always, of the same variety. The authors reported, in a table, the range in mineral concentration as highest and lowest values observed among the vegetables sampled. These highest and lowest values have been misrepresented as vegetables grown organically and inorganically, respectively, in various organic farming and healthfood newsletters, which cite the report (copies of the misquotes are available on request).
The authors discussed the influence of soil type, fertilizer practice, and climate on the observed differences in mineral composition. The study only provides a general survey of their possible influence and did not compare synthetic fertilizer and organic practices.

I'm strongly in favour of sustainable agriculture, and organic principles are closer to the mark than intensive agriculture, but the principal benefits I see are in terms of the environment rather than nutrition.

Johnny.B.Good
04-01-2012, 05:45 PM
I'm strongly in favour of sustainable agriculture, and organic principles are closer to the mark than intensive agriculture, but the principal benefits I see are in terms of the environment rather than nutrition.

+1

Another take on organic vs. conventional agriculture:

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4166

Fun podcast. I listen to it every week.

EdipisReks
04-01-2012, 05:51 PM
for certain fruits and veggies i try to eat organic as much as possible, as i know them to be more tainted with unwanted junk. Such as Apples, Grapes, Celery, berries . Milk and eggs i also buy natural and organic where applicable

check this image out, a friend recently sent to me

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b224/munky420/OrganicVsConventionalSoilManagement.jpg

that's 17 years old.

JohnyChai
04-01-2012, 06:02 PM
I do try to buy organic as much as possible, but more importantly, I try to buy local. If they are available in your community, look for a food coop in your city. Often times, after joining, the produce will be cheaper than you can buy in a grocery store, and you'll get a lot more input on what's doing well, as well as being able to talk to the people that grow your food.


Great Basin is a nice little spot for Reno...actually it's not so little anymore!

sscookwaresets
04-02-2012, 01:37 AM
Do you guys buy organic? I have a love hate relationship with it. It taste good but my wallet hates it.

Sometimes I do and sometimes I do not, I was wondering if you guys had opinions on it.
Yes, it is expensive. But I like organic food. :)

TB_London
04-02-2012, 04:41 AM
that's 17 years old.

The numbers are from 1948, so 64 years old, and misquoted- so basically wrong....

TB_London
04-02-2012, 05:07 AM
+1

Another take on organic vs. conventional agriculture:

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4166

Fun podcast. I listen to it every week.

Cheers for the link, interesting but wish it was a bit more thorough, treating soil management as just crop rotation was a bit too narrow, ignoring chemicals such as DDT which had huge impacts on ecosystems and eutrophication from run off of highly soluble fertilisers. A big annoyance though was their description of nitrogen based fertiliser production, yes the N comes from the air but to convert it to ammonia requires hydrogen which is derived from fossil fuel sources- endlessly sustainable this is not, ( as an interesting side note this is the source of most of the CO2 used by the drinks industry).

I agree with the direction of the article but by having such large gaps in the argument it isn't as compelling as it could be.

Talal
04-02-2012, 06:52 AM
thanks for the updates.

guess that graphic is useless now heh.. sorry for sharing old info

Johnny.B.Good
04-02-2012, 10:13 AM
Cheers for the link, interesting but wish it was a bit more thorough, treating soil management as just crop rotation was a bit too narrow...

Someone commenting on the essay/podcast said the same thing and pointed to an interesting talk/video about soils, soil management, and crop rotation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VObLitSe3K0&feature=player_embedded

Actually, the creator of that podcast (Skeptoid) produced a whole episode on DDT (http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4230), and one on locally grown produce (http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4162).

These podcasts are not long enough for the creator (Brian Dunning) to cover every angle, but I think he does his best to focus on the science and get it right (he also cites his sources for all information). Every once in a while he does an episode of corrections, where he points out any mistakes from previous episodes (there was a mistake in the DDT episode actually).

Craig
04-02-2012, 10:49 AM
Interesting graphic, though the research paper it is based in has been updated with the following:


I'm strongly in favour of sustainable agriculture, and organic principles are closer to the mark than intensive agriculture, but the principal benefits I see are in terms of the environment rather than nutrition.

I'm of the same mind, but the conclusion I draw is often different. These things vary from crop to crop and region to region, so it's really hard to get a good grasp on what you should buy. The arguments against organic and local can be boiled down to they're less efficient and more energy intensive than conventional farming from other areas. But again, that's not always true. Organic also has problems because the label doesn't always hold the meaning you would hope or expect it to. This is a pretty good article about it:

http://www.economist.com/node/8380592

If I could somehow figure out which foods are more efficient grown organically and which are not I'd try to buy accordingly. Since I can't seem to do that, I usually just go for whatever looks the freshest or smells the best on the day I'm buying it.

If you want to make a positive impact on the environment, much more benefit can come from picking what you eat rather than how what you eat was grown. For example, eating meat is awful for the environment. Red meat, as a general rule, is also much worse than poultry or fish. I'm pulling the numbers from my memory, so they might not be 100% accurate, but producing a calorie of beef requires something like 30 calories of feed. Chicken is about 7 calories, pork is somewhere in between. Veal is much worse than beef too, though I can't remember the number. There are similar things that can be said about seafood, the general rule there is eating lower on the food chain is better, so things like salmon and tuna are worse than things like mussels or sardines.

So sure, you can buy organic grains on the hope of being somewhat better for the environment, but the environmental impact of eating a burger is automatically 30x worse than that of eating the bun. But cows are delicious, I know. I still eat meat, but not nearly as much as I did before I learned about this stuff. Reading books like Omnivore's Dilemma, The End of Food, Food Inc and Bottomfeeder really opened my eyes.

Johnny.B.Good
04-02-2012, 12:14 PM
I work with a woman who is very concerned about the environment that dropped red meat from her diet for the reasons Craig stated (not because she feels particularly sorry for cows or thinks they aren't delicious).

Craig
04-02-2012, 12:20 PM
I've more or less gone from being a guy who eats steaks and burgers a couple of times a week to someone who treats beef as a rare treat. I'll have maybe one or two steaks a year (last year I had one) and probably about 6 burgers, almost all of which are the results of going to someone's place for a bbq and that's what they've got. Once or twice a year I'll do lamb too, which is also pretty bad environmentally. I won't eat veal if I can help it.

A side effect is I've completely cut mediocre beef out of my diet. If you're only doing it once every couple of months, it had better be damn good.

Eamon Burke
04-02-2012, 08:53 PM
I eat everything I eat to the fullest extent. If I had a deep freezer(just got room for one, it's on the must-get list), we are going to just buy half a cow and use ALL of it. The problem with eating red meat is the same as the problem with only eating chicken breast. *** are you going to do with an entire chicken, if you are a chicken farm, if everyone thinks that 2 muscles are the only thing desirable in it? Grow mutated disease-barn birds and pump them full of crap to keep them alive, and process and chemically treat the rest of the bird so it looks and seems kinda like the breast.

I think if you consider what a cow takes to produce environmentally, and equate every pound of a whole animal to a pound of, say, ribeye, yeah that's outrageous. But considering you can get GALLONS AND GALLONS of stock out a cow(we get a few gallons out of one chicken carcass, so I'd wager hundreds of gallons out of a cow), It'll stretch pretty dang far. Cows make milk. Nobody eats the cow's head. We don't supplement meals with broth or soaked grains or quality fats. The problem is, nobody wants to work for their food anymore, or eat sparse meals. We want steak and fruit salad and cupcakes, not soup and greens and honey.

I think it's pathetic that we don't allow people to slaughter over-age dairy animals.

EdipisReks
04-02-2012, 09:18 PM
I eat everything I eat to the fullest extent. If I had a deep freezer(just got room for one, it's on the must-get list), we are going to just buy half a cow and use ALL of it. The problem with eating red meat is the same as the problem with only eating chicken breast. *** are you going to do with an entire chicken, if you are a chicken farm, if everyone thinks that 2 muscles are the only thing desirable in it? Grow mutated disease-barn birds and pump them full of crap to keep them alive, and process and chemically treat the rest of the bird so it looks and seems kinda like the breast.

I think if you consider what a cow takes to produce environmentally, and equate every pound of a whole animal to a pound of, say, ribeye, yeah that's outrageous. But considering you can get GALLONS AND GALLONS of stock out a cow(we get a few gallons out of one chicken carcass, so I'd wager hundreds of gallons out of a cow), It'll stretch pretty dang far. Cows make milk. Nobody eats the cow's head. We don't supplement meals with broth or soaked grains or quality fats. The problem is, nobody wants to work for their food anymore, or eat sparse meals. We want steak and fruit salad and cupcakes, not soup and greens and honey.

I think it's pathetic that we don't allow people to slaughter over-age dairy animals.

hard to argue with this post.

BobCat
04-02-2012, 09:43 PM
Agree. Just got a deep freezer and bought 1/4 cow from young organic farmer . Got to support local organics and local farmers markets if at all possible.

Craig
04-03-2012, 07:53 AM
Well, they do a pretty decent job of using most of the animals that are slaughtered these days. You've heard of the pink slime thing, probably. That's a pretty far extreme, but you certainly can't fault the company behind it for not using every part of the cow. There are plenty of rubbish products out there that the scraps get ground up to make.

No matter how efficient you are at using the whole animal, it's still going to be massively worse for the planet than eating plants and worse than eating most other kinds of meat.

SpikeC
04-03-2012, 02:05 PM
I just saw an ad for cow hoof dog treats. No preservatives! They also have smoked cow ears, but those should probably be saved for human consumption.

Eamon Burke
04-03-2012, 04:43 PM
No matter how efficient you are at using the whole animal, it's still going to be massively worse for the planet than eating plants and worse than eating most other kinds of meat.

I don't see how you arrive at that. It's about balancing the food production as a whole picture--you can't grow crops on land you can raise pigs on. My father had 125 head of longhorns on a ranch with land completely unsuitable for farming anything but huisache and salt grass. They were grass-managed, we burned 1/4 of the land every year(when nature didn't do that for us) and rotated where we put the herd, and managed a fence. That's it. They protected themselves, bred themselves, and meat came out. All we had to do was burn, mow, and fix fences.

His buisness partner tried growing all kinds of things on that land--not a thing made any money.

When my wife and I go on a dietary cleanse, the first 10 days is vegan whole foods. It is startlingly expensive to get through, because we will eat 3-4 times the normal volume of food and still be hungry.

You just gotta have meat. It's part of the picture. The problem is the fact that the meat sellers and dietary "experts" have become the same people. We can't sustain eating meat because our meat habits are idiotic. A goat, 3 chickens and a half acre is enough to support a family most of the world. My father raised 3 pigs from piglets to 250lbs in less than a year, and we had pork for our family of 5 for years in the freezer. We didn't even keep all of it! We didn't make stock from the bones, or eat the feet and head, or organs...we could have done so much more, but even so, it was a massive return on what we put out. From personal experience, a 1/2 lb of pork with a hard boiled egg is a hell of a lot more breakfast than 2 hard boiled eggs and all the produce you can eat.

DwarvenChef
04-03-2012, 05:20 PM
Working at a healthfood chain I have access to alot more Organics than I would normally have gone out looking for. After 6 months of shopping at work I find I cannot go back to my old ignorance. I feel better physically and the food tastes so much better. I just love getting a 4lb chicken, roasting it and not having over a pound of it evaporate because of water weight added to conventional meats. Sure the up front cost seems higher but when you notice that your eating less due to being satified by the better nutrient content and flavor, you end up buying less in the longer run, the cost balances out.

DwarvenChef
04-03-2012, 05:30 PM
The current glut of mass production of protiens is purely there to support fast food chains. It's easy to go back to the 50's and see what the production system was like before the fastfood chains hit the mainstream. A local butchershop would go through 450 animals a year while today the production line runs at 450 animals an hour.

No one will ever be able to convince me that any restrictive diet is ever going to be good for you, we are ominivours. That said, we in the US eat WAY to much protien in our mainstream diets. Moderation in all things especcially food. I also find it interesting how many people I see daily who are getting in control of their eating habbits are former vegans and former vegeterians. Only supporting my belief that to be truly healthey a restrictive diet is NOT the way to go, moderation and a varied diet is the only way.

Craig
04-04-2012, 12:32 AM
I don't see how you arrive at that. It's about balancing the food production as a whole picture--you can't grow crops on land you can raise pigs on. My father had 125 head of longhorns on a ranch with land completely unsuitable for farming anything but huisache and salt grass. They were grass-managed, we burned 1/4 of the land every year(when nature didn't do that for us) and rotated where we put the herd, and managed a fence. That's it. They protected themselves, bred themselves, and meat came out. All we had to do was burn, mow, and fix fences.

His buisness partner tried growing all kinds of things on that land--not a thing made any money.

When my wife and I go on a dietary cleanse, the first 10 days is vegan whole foods. It is startlingly expensive to get through, because we will eat 3-4 times the normal volume of food and still be hungry.

You just gotta have meat. It's part of the picture. The problem is the fact that the meat sellers and dietary "experts" have become the same people. We can't sustain eating meat because our meat habits are idiotic. A goat, 3 chickens and a half acre is enough to support a family most of the world. My father raised 3 pigs from piglets to 250lbs in less than a year, and we had pork for our family of 5 for years in the freezer. We didn't even keep all of it! We didn't make stock from the bones, or eat the feet and head, or organs...we could have done so much more, but even so, it was a massive return on what we put out. From personal experience, a 1/2 lb of pork with a hard boiled egg is a hell of a lot more breakfast than 2 hard boiled eggs and all the produce you can eat.

Your experience is an overwhelming minority case. Most cows are fed corn. You can feed something like 30 people with the feed it takes to produce the beef that feeds one person. Efficient use of the cow might bring that down to like 25 people, but that's still obviously not great.

I haven't seen any research, but I strongly suspect that if all livestock were raised on marginal farmland (which by the way I totally support) in such a way that they were self-sustaining there wouldn't be nearly enough meat to go around. If we could somehow arrange it that this were how our beef was raised, I would eat it without regret.

jmforge
04-04-2012, 02:17 AM
You may be correct, but a lot of prime farmland is being left fallow these days. One BIG problem with organic food is that many people can't afford it. Cows are sent to the feedlots as feeder calves when they weigh about 700 pounds and are fed up to somewhere over 1500 typically. As for the 30 to 1 number, I think that may be a bit off, but then again, if you want to eat field/feed corn, go right ahead. LOL
Your experience is an overwhelming minority case. Most cows are fed corn. You can feed something like 30 people with the feed it takes to produce the beef that feeds one person. Efficient use of the cow might bring that down to like 25 people, but that's still obviously not great.

I haven't seen any research, but I strongly suspect that if all livestock were raised on marginal farmland (which by the way I totally support) in such a way that they were self-sustaining there wouldn't be nearly enough meat to go around. If we could somehow arrange it that this were how our beef was raised, I would eat it without regret.

jmforge
04-04-2012, 02:23 AM
i am still not convinced that much of the organic food business isn't a bit of a scam especially when it comes to meat. You will never find "drug free" beef, pork or lamb anywhere in the US. What you can find is meat where he animals have not been fed drugs as part of their diet in feedlots, but ALL livestock is vaccinated. The one thing that we do know is that with veggies, local is better because they are allowed to fully "ripen" as opposed to being picked early so that they can survive long transport. Tomatoes are a prime example of this. Most of the winter tomatoes are grown here in Florida in soil and a climate that is not ideally suited for them. Standard sized tomatoes grow down here nigh tasteless because they are bred to survive the heat and high rainfall and picked quite early. The varieties that do really well down here are ones that have been developed over the years for equally crappy conditions like Roma, cherry and grape tomatoes. We have the same problem with feeding livestock. In some areas, the grass has such a high water content that you have to import feed for horses.

Adagimp
04-04-2012, 02:52 AM
Craig is dead on about the massive environmental impact that raising animals for food has under the current mainstream production paradigm. If environmental harm is one of your concerns when shopping for food, then the best way to address that concern is to limit your meat consumption to as little as possible. He's also right about the efficiency of raising animals for food vs. raising produce for food from a nutrient and calorie stand point. To be sure, as Eamon pointed out, there are pretty efficient ways of raising animals so that less energy is wasted, but it's still always going to be more efficient, again calorie and nutrient wise, to raise produce for eating than to raise animals for eating. There are also additional ethical concerns with raising animals for food which should provide incentive to reduce meat consumption to minimalistic levels.

Adagimp
04-04-2012, 02:56 AM
You may be correct, but a lot of prime farmland is being left fallow these days. One BIG problem with organic food is that many people can't afford it. Cows are sent to the feedlots as feeder calves when they weigh about 700 pounds and are fed up to somewhere over 1500 typically. As for the 30 to 1 number, I think that may be a bit off, but then again, if you want to eat field/feed corn, go right ahead. LOL

In the sort of example that Craig gave it's assumed that the land and energy used to grow feed corn would be used to grow some other type of produce, typically rice, wheat, or more human digestive tract friendly corn, instead.

Adagimp
04-04-2012, 03:09 AM
For an informative and insightful read on not just the various values of organic farming, but on the ethics of eating in general, I whole-heartedly suggest The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (Rodale Inc. 2006) by Jim Mason and Peter Singer.