Photo: Egan Snow/Flickr
As summer wanes and garden harvests start to dwindle, this news lands with a thud: a recent study performed at Stanford University indicated that eating organic produce doesn’t necessarily mean eating more nutritious produce.
If you figured this would raise the ire of organic food advocates, you were right. Much of the debate that arose from this research and the breathless headlines it generated, however, focuses on what the study did not consider. There is no question that food raised "conventionally"—that is to say, with the aid of any number of synthetic pesticides—does harm to those who grow and produce the food, and to the surrounding ecosystem.
The takeaway is that while an organic tomato might not make you healthier than a conventional one, a conventional tomato may well do more harm to its producer. So buying organic is one way to vote for better agricultural working conditions. It’s one way to vote for fewer fertilizers and chemicals entering the environment. (Suggested reading for more on this is "Eat Organic: It’s Good for Other People’s Health" over at Earth Island Journal.)
But there’s another element to organically-raised food that we should consider: it is a conduit for connecting people and landscapes. Without organic farms, adventure travel would suffer.