"Organic Food vs. Technology"

Do any benefits of organic farming really outweigh the benefits of conventional farming using the newest technology? In this week’s From The Ground Up, a plant scientist tells us that he believes that even though there hasn’t been any real national discussion of the pros and cons of organic farming, new technologies will soon leave organic farming behind. Joe Brown has more.

"Food is stuck with media controllers who are looking at it from a very superficial, very upper middle class perspective. So you’re never going to see any good confrontations on these issues, and challenging of the dogma surrounding organic food and farming. We’re having one-sided conversations which is like one-handed clapping. It’s not productive."

Alex Avery works for the Hudson Institute Center For Global Food Issues, and said when his book The Truth About Organic Food came out, he got calls from programs like Rachel Ray.

"If people want to farm that way, or buy that food that’s fine, but they should have all the facts. As soon as they found out it was a non pro-organic book, they weren’t interested."

Avery says a recession causes people to examine their buying habits.

"People all of the sudden are realizing you know maybe paying five times more for that chicken that ran around in a cage that happened to be situated out on a pasture versus an open house where he’s protected from hawks or something. Maybe I’m not getting anything, maybe I’m just being frivolous."

And Avery believes that even without a public debate, technology will prevail.

"I think we are seeing the last days of organic having some semblance of legitimacy, because the ag technologies that we are bringing through the pipeline and out into the market now are going to leave them in the dust. So when we start having drought tolerant crops, crops that don’t need half as much fertilizer as an organic crop. I think the consumers are going to get over their fear of technology and move on. When milk pasteurization came out, people were very afraid of what it would do to the quality and the nutritional value of milk, and it was controversial for twenty and thirty years. "

I’m Joe Brown, tracing the journey our food makes from the farm to our homes, From The Ground Up.

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