I'm not sure what Bart is saying here.
The data I posted from Bergner's book is not a comparison of
organic to organic, or organic to conventional.
The data are taken from USDA figures on composition of foods
typically found in the marketplace. Thus, the data almost certainly
describe conventional to conventional food composition as analyzed in
1963 and again in 1992.
They indicate that as a general rule, mineral content in foods have
declined over time.
It supports the argument from the alternative farming crowd that
minerals are being depleted from soils due to farming practices.
And likewise, that attention to mineral fertilization and balanced
soil nutrition is very important.
Nevertheless, I am in agreement with Bart's views on the mineral
situation on organic farms. Certified organic in itself does not
imply good criteria for food quality.
On the other hand, the alternative farming movement (at least
certain parts of the organic, biodynamic, and ecofarming
crowds) have addressed food quality at an advanced level.
Soil tests, fertilizer recommendations with attention to balanced
nutrients and calcium levels, and qualitative/quantitative
measurements of the food product itself are an important part of the
That food quality differences do in fact exist, and can be
tweaked and improved through a series of soil management
and foliar feeding practices, is without a doubt one of the
biggest stories of alternative farming.
Here, I am reminded of the following observation from well known
ridge-till farmer from Boone, Iowa, Mr. Richard Thompson, in
response to academic types at a farming conference who insisted
that "nitrogen is nitrogen is nitrogen":
"Men say no, but mice know the difference"
This was in reference to a on-farm trial where mice ate
organically-raised corn but would not touch chemically-fertilized
corn; further supporting William Albrecht's views that animals have
more food sense than most Americans, as witnessed by our food
production and consumption habits.
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