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E-M:/ Good Reading on Sustainable Agriculture

Enviro-Mich message from "Mary La France" <mary.lafrance@mindspring.com>

Folks, here is some good reading on sustainable agriculture. Two articles
from the biotech-info.net list serve. (summarized below)

This first segment is from the Governor's Conference on Organic Agriculture,
Michigan State University, March 2-3, 2001

Science, Sustainability and Organic Practice (Organic Farming in the
Sound-Byte Age)
by William F. Brinton, Woods End Research Laboratory - Mt. Vernon Maine


This analysis of science and technology applied to agriculture, highlights a
discussion with the late Jacques Cousteau, who had been studying the rivers
of the East in particular the Danube. Jacques points out that although they
have very high pollution loads from just a few agents--trash, fecal matter
and oil--in contrast in the West we have low levels of innumerable compounds
so complex it takes multiple GC/MS runs to characterize a single water
sample. We in effect conceal these innumerable polluting agents by
constructing scenarios called "threshold levels" and "no-observable effects

A good example is how pesticide content of fruit and produce is discounted
by authorities because the multiple residues found in them are "within legal

The author observed while in Romania that farm soils have never received
modern chemicals and present a primitive, less tampered-with condition that
ought to be studied. Meanwhile the westerners are swarming in offering
credit lines to be able to import new agricultural chemicals. "The
proverbial architect of destruction is a rich westerner wearing a disguise
of stability, science and capitalism."

The article also references a report by University of Michigan medical
geneticist Charles Sing

Why Food Safety Will Continue Driving Growth in Demand for Organic Food
by Dr. Charles M. Benbrook, EcoFarm 2003, January 22


The first-ever analysis of pesticides in organic versus conventional foods
was published in the peer reviewed
journal Food Additives and Contaminants in early 2002 (Baker et al., 2002).
Conventional fruits are 3.6 times more likely to contain residues than
organic fruit samples and conventional vegetables are 6.8 times more likely
to have one or more detectable residue.
Compared to organic produce, conventional samples also tend to contain
multiple residues much more often.
Data from testing in 1999 and 2000 shows that conventional food is more
than five-times more likely to contain residues than organic samples.


Comment from laurel hopwood, Sierra Club Genetic Engineering Committee
Taken from our fact sheet: http://www.sierraclub.org/biotech/factsheet.asp
No foods grown organically have been genetically engineered.
Take Action... Purchase food grown organically...

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