There are two things that give me great joy and comfort these days – the writing of Doug Wilson and pre-packaged synthetic food pumped full of chemicals. Who would have thought these things could ever be combined? Ok, so I am great exaggerating. However, I did find Wilson’s recent review of The Truth about Organic Foods to be quite interesting. Here are a few excerpts:
But commitment to organic is frequently located in our religion genes, which means that the response to criticism is much more visceral than it might be to ordinary, runaday criticism. If you go to lunch with a friend, and he mentions that he thinks you might be happier with the grilled cheese in this joint than with their burger, the conversation will not likely escalate out of control. It is just a sandwich or a burger. But the claims that swirl around the ingestion of organic foods range from our obligation to save the planet to the future survival and health of all the children. It would be hard to ramp up many of the claims made any higher. Not surprisingly, evangelistic zeal consequently runs high, and there is often a corresponding resentment among those who would rather not be evangelized right now.
If I were to summarize my takeaway point from this book, it would be this — and it is an ironic takeaway indeed. The organic movement is not sustainable. If you look at the yields coming from organic farms, and then factor in the range land that is necessary to produce the requisite organic fertilizer, and couple this with organic farming’s refusal to use herbicides and the resultant wind and water erosion that occurs because the weeds have to be tilled up, what you have is a genuinely unsustainable scenario. Organic farming is sustainable only so long as it is dedicated to growing niche designer crops for rich people. As soon as you put pen to paper to calculate whether or not we could feed the world this way, you discover that it is an impossibility.
Read the whole review on his website here.