Lazy_eye wrote:Ok, Mr. Naive here thought that when I go to the store and buy organic vegetables, I am getting something which was produced without the use of toxic pesticides. However, it appears this is not the case.
Pesticides can be used in organic farming as long as they are "natural" rather than "synthetic". But of course this distinction tells us nothing about whether the pesticides are actually harmful. Lots of things in nature are toxic to humans. And because some natural pesticides are not as efficient, we're faced with the possibility that organic farmers use them in massive quantities, thus endangering our health even more than is the case with the non-organic equivalents.
So here's my question: where can I get specific information about specific organic products and what pesticides were used?
Where can I find products which were not produced using any form of pesticide? Have any comparisons been done showing the relative dangers of different types of pesticides, whether synthetic or organic?
I'm willing to make the effort and choose organic products if they are actually beneficial, but it's a bit ridiculous to spend the extra money if they're just as toxic as the mass-production stuff, no?
Thoughts, pointers, resources appreciated.... and apologies for the undoubtedly high ignorance levels on display in what I've written above.
Hello, Lazy eye,
as you say yourself, you don't know anything about organic gardening or farming, but I do and practice it, and can reassure you it's not toxic.
Pesticides can be used in organic farming as long as they are "natural" rather than "synthetic". But of course this distinction tells us nothing about whether the pesticides are actually harmful.
Oh, this distinction tells some people a lot!
Let's take pyrethrum.
The natural pyrethrum, gained from a plant with pretty yellow blossoms is used against plant lice.
Sprayed in the morning, it is completely broken down in the evening, by normal sunlight, by ultraviolet rays. Fruit and vegetables that were sprayed can be eaten the next day, without any residues left.
With synthetic pyrethrum it takes weeks, as it takes weeks for other chemical substances.
The danger here is, that fruit may ripen before those ~4 weeks are over, must be harvested, and not all of the toxins are gone.
The even worse case is, that a substance will break down, and fulfill the legal conditions, but into something more toxic than the original substance...
All this is possible with chemical, synthetic substances, but natural extracts from plants usually have very short active times, usually only a few hours, in which they kill through contact, like a brew from stinging nettles.
A fresh brew of those will kill lice within ~30 minutes, but is harmless for us. Just don't bathe in it.
All organic substances I know and work with work in this very short time frame, and are totally harmless for human beings, of course you shouldn't drink it, that would be silly.
But, and here comes a big 'but', most of those procedures become unnecessary in organic gardening/agriculture anyways.
Because the cultivation process is different from the mass production in the conventional cultivation.
1. In organic farming, plant types are chosen, which are so robust, they need little support from us, but may bring smaller and less fruit, but often tastier.
Smaller and less means they are not interesting for mass production, making profit through mass and weight, and through machines doing the work of wo/men.
So smaller harvests in mass production are uninteresting.
But, those strong and resilient plants need less protection, plus, they are very often not planted in mono-cultures, but together with other plants, which are natural repellents for certain diseases and insects.
All this requires more personal work for the farmer, with less machines. This causes a higher price, but healthier plants.
Then, the soil is cultivated with certain machines that don't negatively affect the microbial life in the soil but create better soil, with compost and natural fertilizers, so that the microbes are very active and bring dozens of minerals and trace substances into a chemical form which is easily absorbed by the plants and make them resilient.
Conventional machines and fertilizers often 'ruin' the soil, they exploit the fields, while organic farming carefully enriches the soil.
Those are just a few examples.
I haven't used any pesticides in ages, not even organic ones, because my garden is in perfect balance, meanwhile.
Strong plants, lots of animals which eat lice, such as bugs and birds, and a healthy soil bring me an abundance of flowers and fruit.
If it rains too much, mildew might come up.
I water and spray preventive mixes I make myself, teas with garlic, horsetail and crab apple, which usually helps.
There are lots of natural preventive sprays that are used in organic gardening and farming which aim at strengthening the plants natural resistance through perfect conditions so they won't get ill to begin with.
Most of those substances are herbs that help us humans too.
Horsetail is one of those substances, garlic too, to name a few.
I have acquired my knowledge and experience through reading books and 'doing it', and recommend you do too.
That said, please don't project any fears onto something you don't know and don't jump to conclusions, when you possess very little knowledge.
Best wishes, and ask if you want to know more.
The questions you asked above:
Google, and I'm sure Amazon will answer your questions.