There’s been a lot of chatter in the last two days about the big Stanford study showing that organic food is no more nutritious for you than conventionally grown food. This is not really news to people who really understand this stuff — nor is it the point of organic agriculture, as Brian Fung reminds us:
[W]e should remember that organic began chiefly as an argument about the environment. From the agency’s perspective, to buy organic is to respect the land your food came from. It means taking pains to ensure that your farms remain bountiful and productive, even decades from now. The case is one part self-interest over the long term, and one part a statement of ethics. Not really what you’d expect from a mechanical bureaucratic institution.
Buying organic is also a statement about public health. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of antibiotics. Conventional farms have been putting the stuff in animal feed for decades — even though we’ve known since the 1970s about the health hazards that the animal use of antibiotics poses for humans. Reducing society’s chances of inadvertently creating a superbug is a good reason to purchase organic foods.
And so forth.