The next time you are asked "Why should I buy organic" here are 3 responses that have been shown in studies. Forwarded from SANET, the ever eloquent Mary-Howell Martens... "I was asked recently why ordinary people would choose to buy organic food. These are the 3 reasons I gave - 1. Studies have shown that the Number One reason people choose to buy organic food is to protect the health of themselves and their families. Certainly there is validity in this - research is just beginning to show us the tip of the iceberg concerning the accumulated environmental impact of 50 years of pesticide and industrial chemical use. What little we are seeing now is quite scary. Anything we can afford to do to reduce our exposure, even if we aren't sure whether the outcome will be as perfect as we wish - doesn't that make sense for our own well-being? 2. Choosing to buy organic food means making a conscious choice to allow a farmer somewhere not to use chemicals. When we were farming conventionally, we were very aware that it was us and our children that were getting the lion's share of the exposure to the pesticides - it was our air, our water, our clothes, our floors. By buying organic food, you are deliberating allowing a farm family somewhere not to take that hit. 3. Environmental sustainability. The United Nation's World Commission on Environmental Development produced a report in 1987 (known at the Brundtland Report) that offered the following definition of sustainability - "Meeting the needs and accommodating the aspirations of the present generation without compromising the same opportunities for future generations." This is a valuable lens to evaluate our agricultural and environmental decisions and policy. Are we depleting or degrading more of the earth's resources than our generation has a right to? Does our food purchase choices allow degradative, consumptive and wasteful agricultural practices to prosper, or are our purchase choices helping to stimulate a change toward greater environmental improvement? Organic farming helps us to be better farmers - more observant, more connected to our soil, plants and animals, better stewards of our resources. Are organic standards and organic farmers perfect? Certainly not - we don't pretend to be, nor do we assume that our organic standards are without flaws. Nor do we pretend that all organic farmers are better environmental stewards and better farmers than all conventional farmers - there is quite a range in both groups. However, I was really impressed by one farmer who raises over 10000 conventional calves each year. He recently sold us 8 calves and told me quietly that he was very glad these calves were going to an organic farm because "they will have a better life." Even though he wasn't doing it himself, he knew that organic animal management is more 'humane'. That's what we organic farmers are trying to achieve - and the consumers who recognize this make it possible for us to try harder." Mary-Howell Martens ******************************************************** Visit the SANET-MG archives at: SANET is "Sustainable Alternative Network" http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html. Questions? Visit http://www.sare.org/about/sanetFAQ.htm. For more information on grants and other resources available through the SARE program, please visit http://www.sare.org.