I have a question for those who might be able to help me. I confess, I
am not a farmer, but am personally and professionally interested and
commited to alternative agriculture. I work with the Idaho Organic
Producers Association. I appreciate the diversity of contributions to
this list. It is very educational.
My question has to do with the differences in how plants take up
molecules from different sources, specifically synthetic vs. natural. I
am currently in an e-mail discussion with a friend of mine who believes
in the general sustainability issues of the overuse of petro-chemicals,
agribusiness, losing contact between growers and consumers, etc. But who
doesn't believe much of the organic position holds up "scientifically."
Speaking specifically about the difference (or lack of difference as he
believes) between synthetic fertilizers and pesticides vs. organic
fertilizers and pesticides, his argument is this:
"One of the reasons that the pro-organic position doesn't hold up so
scientifically is that a "molecule is a molecule". The organism
molecule in exactly the same fashion no matter what the source of the
molecule is (assuming that is in a place where the organism can take it
and in a form that is processable by the organism)."
I have heard this argument several times, but have never heard a
satisfactory rebuttal. Would anyone care to educate me and settle this
dispute in my mind?
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