Monday, September 24, 2018

On "Organic" Food and Practice...

    "Organic" food, as industry folks refer to it, is a belief system based on something called a naturalism bias; it's built on the assumption that chemicals mixed synthetically are inherently worse than chemicals "not mixed synthetically".. even though they're often the exact same chemical soup, regardless. Chemicals are chemicals are chemicals. Everything in existence is a soup of chemicals. The Organic lobby is a multi-billion dollar industry that spends a lot of money telling us these "natural chemicals" are somehow inherently superior to "not natural" chemicals.
     The bias is confronted when we accept nature as inherently unhealthy; (for every healthy green food growing in the ground there's also a generally toxic counterpart.. from rhubarb greens to cashew pods to poison ivy) Nature wants to nourish you, but mostly it wants to kill you. The continued investment and lobby in "organic industry" becomes problematic when only affluent and food secure people practice it, as is done. "Organic" farming practices are often less efficient and generally more carbon intensive than conventional, which matters when 1 in 7 human beings are still food insecure today (who collectively can't pay higher prices for organic) and we aim to reach 9 billion by around 2052.
    If something exists, it's natural. Chemistry is natural. Labs are natural. Mixing chemicals in them is natural. Things made "synthetically" possible by labs are natural, because they exist in our natural world. Luckily, by mixing chemicals ourselves (and the genes chemicals bond to create) we can better test their inherent risks to us, and we do. "Organic food" development has no such safety testing standard. In comparison, a patent for a a seed made using genetic engineering takes nearly 7-10 years of rigorous testing and field trials and millions of dollars to get through safety standards and eventually onto the market.
     It's critical to understand that there is nothing natural about any of our foods, "organic" or not... we've selectively bred all the foods we eat over thousands and thousands of years to resemble crazy mutants we just so happen to find delicious... there are no giant tomatoes, broccoli, bananas or corn that occur naturally.. these were all created by us by editing genomes through selectively crossing species, picking for desired traits, various forms of mutagenesis, and others. If anything is "unnatural," it's arguably our ability to exploit plant seedlings in agriculture in the first place. It's time to get used to the idea that everything that exists in our natural world is, indeed, natural. 

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