The whole organic scam is finally coming apart at the seams.
Six months ago the absence of nutritional benefit was revealed by the Food Standards Agency.
The watchdog stopped short of advising consumers that buying organic produce was a waste of money but its message was clear: choosing to eat organic food will make no important difference to a person’s overall health.
This was all splendid. Now we learn the wider impact of organic food production on the environment.
Birds such as the skylark and lapwing are less likely to be found in organic fields than on conventional farms, according to a study that contradicts claims that organic agriculture is much better for wildlife.
It concludes that organic farms produce less than half as much food per hectare as ordinary farms and that the small benefits for certain species from avoiding pesticides and artificial fertilisers are far outweighed by the need to make land more productive to feed a growing population.
The research, by the University of Leeds, is another blow to the organic industry, which is already struggling because of falling sales and a report from the Food Standards Agency that found that organic food was no healthier than ordinary produce.
Organic farmers who shun herbicides may also impose higher costs on nearby farms because the weeds that they have tolerated spread to neighbouring fields.
Which is nice of them.
The most surprising thing here is a pragmatic academic, which is a rare species indeed:
Tim Benton, who led the study published in the journal Ecology Letters, said: “Our results show that to produce the same amount of food using organic rather than conventional means, we’d need to use twice the amount of land for agriculture. As the biodiversity benefits of organic farming are small, the lower yield may be a luxury we can’t afford, particularly in the more productive areas of the UK.”
I don’t expect it’ll make the slightest bit of difference to suckers who’ll only buy food that has mud on it.
Salon has an excellent article here.