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how is organic related to permaculture?

 
Posts: 179
Location: Colchester, CT
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Both Emersons and Wombats ideas are appreciated and acknowledged. Thanks...

If we could expect people to use nitrogen fertilizers in the fashion that Emerson outlined, I would be less inclined to dismiss them out of hand. Indeed in the small quantities he is talking about there would be little issue, not even enough run-off to pollute the water.

Emerson, I have never seen a bacterially deficient soil; even the lab work I did on the National Mall had bacteria. Fungal mass is almost always deficient even to the 1:1 F:B ratio most of our veggies like. THAT is why I tend to focus on the fungal side of things... it is crop dependent on where you want to be, If the soil has gone to a 5:1 F:B, then a shot of the N2 will knock back the fungal and add the bacterial biomass, but our control over just how that happens is poor. I would rather use the natural systems than add man made systems, in keeping with Wombats thought, or the seminal work of Fukuoka-sensei...

I do believe that natural systems belong at the base of the permacultural pyramid, and that our man made efforts are in the long term, of little use. Emerson has qualified a place that may well work, but at the levels he is talking about, I see no reason why we cannot simply return some humus as compost and get the same result, naturally, without the pollution of the Haber Bosch methodology, and with locally available supplies... in short, organic growing...

S
 
Posts: 123
Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
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Emerson White wrote:
I've never seen any research that even suggests USDA organic to be any more nutritious than standard produce. It is certainly marketed that way, but I don't need to go off on marketers here.



From
http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Are-organic-tomatoes-more-nutritious :



"Alyson Mitchell from the University of California-Davis, and researchers from University of Minnesota studied the levels of quercetin and kaempferol aglycones in dried tomato samples (Lycopersicon esculentum L. cv. Halley 3155) between 1994 and 2004. The tomatoes were grown and processed conventionally or organically.

Mitchell and co-workers report that organic tomatoes contained on average 79 and 97 per cent more quercetin and kaempferol aglycones than conventionally grown tomatoes."

 
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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But you have to read to the end of the article.

Commenting independently on the research, Lord Krebs, former chairman of the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) and now an academic at Oxford, told The Times that higher flavonoid levels do not necessarily mean that organic food is healthier.

"This depends on the relevance of the differences to the human body. Tomato ketchup has higher levels of lycopene [a strong antioxidant] than either organic or conventional tomatoes. So if you wanted lots of lycopene you should eat tomato ketchup," he said.

A recent review, published in the journal Nutrition Bulletin and authored by Claire Williamson from the British Nutrition Foundation, stated that the overall body of science does not support the view that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food.

"Organic farming represents a sustainable method of agriculture that avoids the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides and makes use of crop rotation and good animal husbandry to control pests and diseases," wrote Williamson. "From a nutritional perspective, there is currently not enough evidence to recommend organic foods over conventionally produced foods."



A slightly different chemical make up is not the same as more nutritious. 
 
                        
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Doesn't that depend on what you mean by "nutritious"?  Governments tend to look at minimum content, where as really healthy nutrition is a matter of having all nutrients in an abundant array and cycle so that they can act synergistically.  Not just the presence or absence of a few nutrients.

There is a good reason why the 7th day Adventists at Loma Linda are one of the healthiest populations in the world--they grow their own food and practice healthy soil maintenance.

I don't think there is any comparison between food grown to minimum standards with a few commercial chemicals on depleted soil, and food grown on living naturally fertile soil.

Just look at the people who eat it!
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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wombat wrote:
There is a good reason why the 7th day Adventists at Loma Linda are one of the healthiest populations in the world--they grow their own food and practice healthy soil maintenance.



I think not eating any processed food, or meat or smoking or drinking or doing any drugs has something to do with it too, probably a whole lot more than gardening well.

By nutritious I mean full of life sustaining nutrients. Yes organic tomato paste had more of two flavinoids, but are those flavinoids important to our health? Nitrate drenched celery probably has more chlorophil, I wouldn't call it more nutritious for that though.

I suspect strongly that slower growing veggies have more nutrition, but I've never seen any evidence (save for that article mention in that paper, about a different level of two flavinoids of unknown importance) to support or disconfirm my pet theory.
 
                        
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whether organic is more nutritious depends on who is doing the analysis, apparently:

http://www.organicconsumers.org/Organic/organicstudy.cfm

The reason home grown food is more nutritious (if properly grown) is because of the extra work you have to do to grow it.  The work (exercise) makes the calories expended more judiciously used -- compared to sitting on one's butt and ordering deliver pizza for example.

Still, I think the real proof is in the pudding.  As a nation we are getting fat, sedentary and lazy.  Our kids are getting sick and have never learned how to work or know the value of a dollar.  Ive seen kids grow potatoes.  They love to eat them and show everyone what they have done.  Its good medicine.  So its a lot more than the chemical composition of the food that makes for a healthy result.
 
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I ithink there were always kids who did not do much outdoor type playing but now they have unhealthy diets too.
    A french painter said people like what they know, they invest things that they know with meaning, trandecental meaning or emotions and not things that they don't. SO for soem digging up potatoes may be a very positive experience but for others somtihgn else maybe though there are certainely people who seemmore negative than usual i complain a lot for example but I have met people who leave me like a bab in arms when it comes to seeing the dark side thouhg normally that is not what they talk about when they first meet you it takes a long time to discorver how badly they see others.
    What differences are there now in our culture that make for all this fatness, that food is cheap, that it is easy to cook or ready cooked, that people  talk of eating ice cream if they are unhappy? I had never heard of eating to confort myself when i was little, though maybe I had  done it unconsciously. It seems it is worse to acknowledge it than maybe ocasionally eating when you are upset without acknowledging it.

  I have started drinking camonmmile tea and i am asleep all day, Is it a much stronger drug than i would expect? Maybe I just imagine it is and go to sleep because i believe in it.
rose.
 
rose macaskie
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  I have been reading about Sir Albert Howard the founder of organics a bit more carefully and he does say that a healthy soil, full of microbes and fungi and such, makes the animals that feed off it much healthier. His healthy cattle could rub noses with unhealthy ones without getting infected.
    They do find out everyday about new substances in plants we eat that are important for our health. Like antioxidants, so who knows what healthy vegetables don't have in the way of things we have not yet found out about.
  I have read that fruit have asprin in them so that would mean the reduce the clotting of the blood.
  I have also  read something along the lines that as concerns some medicines we can hardley absorb more than a tiny amount of them if they had been isolated and put in a capsule. but if they are in the fruit of vegetable they come from our body absorbes them easily.
  It seems that there is a lot we don't know about fruit and vegetables so we should be careful and grow healthy ones.

  This is a nice new and big type. agri rose macaskie.
 
Posts: 9002
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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This thread has sat for 3 1/2 years. Paul and Brenda are still here. Not sure about the others.
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I think that many older people may have started out gardening in a very sustainable way that we now call permaculture. In the summer of 73, I turned nine. My favorite reading material was Organic Gardening magazine. My mother came into a large stash of back issues and I read them all. Many of the gardens and techniques depicted could easily have been branded as permiculture, but the term did not exist.

I had my own garden. It was a narrow patch that lay between fruit trees and currant bushes. All of my inputs came from the farm. I used manure from the barnyard and a combination of muck and flotsam from a very dirty pond that received runoff from the barnyard. Imported inputs were not an option. I had no money and no vehicle. I also had no desire for store bought nutrients, since the magazine warned against them. Store bought organic stuff was unavailable in the backwater of Ripley Ontario. I read everything I could find by J. I. Rodale and his son Robert. About a year earlier, I had announced my disbelief in the family religion and my interest in science. They tried all of that mixing them together stuff on me, but to no avail. Organic Gardening was the nearest thing to a science book that I could get my hands on, so the various articles and opinion pieces helped to shape my scientific and political views. I was a little kid, but I had informed opinions on things.

My mom controlled about 80% of the poorly planned garden and she made the other kids help her. Everything on their side was centered around weeding and watering. Most of my efforts went into gathering mulches. I was lucky that I didn't get lyme disease or something worse from all of the road kill and dog kill that I buried. For me, it was a competition. I was allowed to have my own patch after a few violent altercations with siblings who stepped on plants during forced labor weeding sessions. I made it clear that I would not help or cooperate if I had to work with morons. (they ranged in age from 3 to 8, so I realize now that they were not beyond hope, but at the time it was maddening) So, I staked out my own patch. I had learned about black walnut and juglone from the books, so I took the area furthest from a big tree but kept that knowledge to myself --- it was a competition after all. My little garden was the most productive part of the farm. It may have been Permaculture with the 3rd ethic bent to suit me.
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When I look at what "organic" means today, it's totally different than what I was up to in my first garden. It has become a brand. The rules are centered around what must not be done, and many non sustainable practices are allowed. Farms have gotten big. Bare soil and monoculture are common. Product is often shipped great distances. Small farmers are buried in red tape and often decide to not become certified. "Certified Organic" is a tightly guarded sales tool. It's a brand.

I think permaculture is largely the continuation of 1970s organic gardening, before it turned into a corporate, industrial enterprise that tends to discourage newcomers from entering the business. The organic gardening that I witnessed as a kid was always a jumble of interplanting. We knew one guy who made his living with a big organic garden that produced food in far more variety than any of us had seen before. Gary was a back to the land city guy who moved to our area with little experience and soon became the go to guy for fresh produce, seeds, cuttings and advice. He was practicing permaculture in the mid 70s.
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Both camps have something to sell. Organic farming wants to sell you lots of food. A huge array of other products can claim various degrees of organic-ness and/or greenness. The word organic is a key component of many greenwashing campaigns.

Permaculture also has things to sell. There is food for sale, but much more than that. Permaculture wants to sell us on the idea that we can produce our own food, housing and other things and that it can be done sustainably. Because of this, we are more likely to buy seeds than we are to buy the finished product. Education is available in paid courses but there are thousands who offer free information.

Looking at it from the point of view of a consumer, organic farming wants us as customers forever. Permiculture wants us as members who may spend some money along the way, but who will ultimately be as self sufficient as a well planned perennial bed.
 
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