I want to make a quick response on this thread and will do so answering this post from Joel. I believe that Joel has given an opportunity to open very important issue in relationship to research. I believe that those of us who have been involved in organic practice over the past thirty years have been working on a theoretical foundation for a soil based agriculture that we hoped over time would prove that a biologically managed soil system was a forgotten element or an additional element in what should be termed Best Agricultural Practice. We believe that our concepts of balancing a soil and augmenting/optimizing the humus colloid will lead to superior plant health which will result in dramatically reduced pest problems over time.
I believe that we are now seeing the early research begin to verify some of our beliefs but we are far from the point that we can move beyond the theoretical. Sure we have all had anecdotal experience with soil balancing and humus management but it is still early. We probably have a generation or two before enough work has been done to begin to nail down most of the things that we have been doing and observing in our farming and gardening activities. So what value is there in this constant projection of half baked theory as truth. How about we just be about doing the work, acknowledge that there is a diversity of approach in modern agriculture and try to move forward.
Bart has repeatedly pointed out to you that when you get right down to it, removing all the variables(that you can), a good farmer or manager whether conventional, organic, or purple striped with crossed eyes is going to produce a good product and have a low impact on the environment. Keep making bogus unsubstantiated claims for organic or claiming that conventional is poison and you will continue to be inconsequential in the over all agricultural scheme of things.
Why aren*t we spending more time working out on SANET what sustainability is instead of using it as a forum of apology for what are by and large bankrupt quasi-organic systems. I know that my organic broccoli and lettuce truck farm was painfully unsustainable back in 1980, and most of the hundreds of organic operations that I have seen since appeared to have some short term value and about as much long term sustainability as a corn on corn operation in Illinois.
I guess it is some how fun to fiddle while Rome burns but the madness of having the same debates repeatedly for twenty five years is finally debilitating.
Accolades to Steve, Bart and Joel and those few practitioners out there who are working with balanced soils and agroecosystems no matter what they call themselves. Why don*t we try to do the work and *just get a long*.
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