Weblog Michael Wilde, Eosta:

"Organic isn't too expensive, regular is too cheap"

I like occasionally giving a guest lecture or presentation on organic agriculture. Almost everyone has a (strong) opinion on food, agriculture and health. Even though these opinions are very varied, it is striking how single minded people are when it comes to organic, (in Dutch) Michael Wilde of Eosta on his weblog at www.grensverleggers.nl

Especially when it comes to these three prejudices:

  • How do I know organic is organic? Isn't organic just another marketing ploy?
  • Organic is fine for the rich West, but organic can't feed the world.
  • Organic is all good and well, but it's much too expensive.
I mainly want to talk about the last point, but will gladly take the opportunity to tackle the other two!

Organic as a marketing tool
Organic isn't 'just a marketing ploy'. If the European Organic hallmark is on a product, it is guaranteed to be organic. The word 'organic' is also legally protected. It can't be used without an official controlling organisation has determined that the European demands have been met. Compliance to the rules is strictly controlled.

Organic is too expensive
And then there's the third prejudice: organic is far too expensive. It's true that organic products (on supermarket shelves) cost more than non organic products. But this isn't due to the price of organic. It is mainly to with non organic products being so cheap.

The first results are crystal clear: regular should cost a lot more than organic. "How can something be too cheap?" I hear you ask... Well, this is easy if not all costs are included in your calculation. I'm talking about the hidden costs of food production. The invisible, but very real costs that are now being pushed onto the tax payer or our children and grandchildren.

Hidden costs
What are these so called hidden costs? Very simple. These are the costs we make as a society to filter out fertiliser and toxins from our water or the costs of fixing soil degradation (as a result of industrial agriculture). You can think of the money that we spend as a society on treating people who become ill or die (350,000 per year), because they come into contact with agricultural poison. Other examples are the costs that we make, because we lose biodiversity, heat up the earth, the bees die, etc..

In 2014 scientists of the world food organisation FAO developed a model to calculate the 'True Cost of Food'. Based on this model, the company Soil & More calculated the actual costs for a number of regular and organic fruits and compared them. The first results are crystal clear: regular should costs a lot more than organic. Organic isn't too expensive, regular is too cheap!

More info? Mail me or go to natureandmore.com.

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