Steve - thanks for the tip to the Aatra website
<http://ncatark.uark.edu/~steved/food-quality.html> on food quality and
organic practices. That certainly is a comprehensive review of an
enormous amount of literature and I appreciate seeing it. Others will
also benefit from your hard work compiling all that information.
I fear that the direction of the sanet discussion on this topic has gone
well beyond the scope and tone of what my actual article is about.
Contrary to what has been implied recently in some of the sanet
discussion, I have absolutely NO intention of battling anyone over this.
Others are far better suited to that than me! However, about 2 weeeks
ago, I got an email from an elementary school girl, asking for
information for a school project on organic farming. After staying up
well after midnight one evening answering the girl's email, I realized -
hey, there is an article in this! I have been slowly collecting
information since February to explain to the average
agriculturally-challenged American what organic farming, organic food,
and genetic engineering are. The impetus obviously came from the 20/20
piece - not so much because what was said but because most people
watching it lack the background to discern the accuracy or purpose of the
I am trying to answer this girl's fairly simple questions (how is organic
farming different, are pesticides dangerous, why is organic food more
expensive, is organic food more nutritious, does organic food pose a food
safety hazard, why are people so upset about GM food) with fairly short
but scientifically supported answers. I feel her questions - and the
type of answers she is looking for - are reasonably indicative of what
the average adult consumer is asking also. This has proven far more
complicated and difficult than I had intially thought it would be, it
would be much easier to write reams and reams on all of these topics.
Whittling down the information into short, scientifically accurate, well
balanced and easily understood responses is more challenging. The high
So - if you or others can contribute information to this end, this would
be appreciated. And many thanks to all of you who have sent useful
information already! Hopefully 'Acres USA' will think it useful also.
Could this be considered 'ammunition'? Perhaps - but maybe the real
value is if it could be ammunition for us organic/sustainable farmers to
better understand what we are doing and how to do it better. Mary-Howell
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