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Organic. Does it matter?


Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0
Adam Ronchetti wrote: "Organic" means next to nothing. From a chemical stand point if it isn't a salt. It's organic. I like Clif bar to the level that if they come out with a new flavor I'll try it. But for the amount of sugar each bar comes with it's just not worth it to me. 

I don't want any nasty chemicals in my food.

Did you know that non-organic farmers regularly apply Dihydrogen Monoxide to their crops?

Adam Ronchetti · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2011 · Points: 25
Sloppy Second wrote:

I don't want any nasty chemicals in my food.

Did you know that non-organic farmers regularly apply Dihydrogen Monoxide to their crops?

Man, I HATE Dihydrogen monoxide. Did you know that we're all hopelessly addicted to it and that farmers spray it on crops EVERY DAY? Sometimes twice.

Try Cam · · Ft. Wayne, IN · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
Sloppy Second wrote:

I don't want any nasty chemicals in my food.

Did you know that non-organic farmers regularly apply Dihydrogen Monoxide to their crops?

This is extremely disturbing. I’ve heard that people even use that compound to clean their cars.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Sloppy Second wrote:

I don't want any nasty chemicals in my food.

Did you know that non-organic farmers regularly apply Dihydrogen Monoxide to their crops?

It has been falling from our skies lately. I think it's the government trying to poison us. Chem-trails, obviously.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

I totally get the healthy food thing.  I think it's totally  bullshit that they  can  spray  oats and wheat  with round-up  right before  harvest  to make it dry faster.  I do however know that when  organic  gets too big  serious  cheating happens.  Especially in countries that have  notorious  corruption.   A better  approach is to  go after the  worst  agricultural  practices  and regulate them out of existence  while  trying to  eat  locally.  

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Adam Ronchetti wrote: "Organic" means next to nothing. From a chemical stand point if it isn't a salt. It's organic. I like Clif bar to the level that if they come out with a new flavor I'll try it. But for the amount of sugar each bar comes with it's just not worth it to me. 

I think everyone knows that, when it comes to agriculture, “organic” is not meant to represent the same thing as what “organic” means in a chemistry class. And humans seem to be able, in general, to accept that the same word can mean different things in different contexts, and that identically spelled word can have multiple definitions. Except, of course, when they choose to deliberately ignore this and use the wrong definition for the context, in order to make fun of it.


I will readily admit that “organic” is not the best word to represent the approach used by farmers who choose to minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and that “organic”, as defined in what is needed to obtain the certificate for a farm that is seeking organic certification is a far cry from what people picture when they see an organic label and a picture of happy cows next to a red barn. 
But I think that the underlying idea is right, namely that many chemicals used in commercial agriculture are harmful to people and environment, and that better practices are awailable, including measures that result in less soil and fertilizer runoff, and less pesticides sprayed. 
Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,505

“Energy bars” are pretty much nuts, raisins, seeds, and some form of sugar. People complain about the sugar.

Here’s a solution I’ve been going with lately. Buy nuts, seeds, and raisins in bulk. Back in the day this combo was called trail mix, if I recall correctly.

No added sugar, no single-use packaging.

Joshua Hunt · · clinton, ut · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 0

What about the M&Ms?!

Fehim Hasecic · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 150
Lena chita wrote:

I think everyone knows that, when it comes to agriculture, “organic” is not meant to represent the same thing as what “organic” means in a chemistry class. And humans seem to be able, in general, to accept that the same word can mean different things in different contexts, and that identically spelled word can have multiple definitions. Except, of course, when they choose to deliberately ignore this and use the wrong definition for the context, in order to make fun of it.

So much mainsplaining
Brian ~+~+~+ · · Oceanside · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

Yes, Organic Crash pads to matter. 

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20
Adam Ronchetti wrote: From a chemical stand point if it isn't a salt. It's organic.

Wikipedia to the rescue


In chemistry, an organic compound is generally any chemical compound that contains carbon. Due to carbon's ability to catenate (form chains with other carbon atoms), millions of organic compounds are known. Study of the properties and synthesis of organic compounds is the discipline known as organic chemistry. For historical reasons, a few classes of carbon-containing compounds (e.g., carbonates and cyanides), along with a handful of other exceptions (e.g., carbon dioxide), are not classified as organic compounds and are considered inorganic. No consensus exists among chemists on precisely which carbon-containing compounds are excluded, making the definition of an organic compound elusive.[1] Although organic compounds make up only a small percentage of the Earth's crust, they are of central importance because all known life is based on organic compounds. Most synthetically produced organic compounds are ultimately derived from petrochemicals consisting mainly of hydrocarbons.[2]
Petsfed · · Laramie, WY · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 945
Nick Goldsmith wrote: living in the north east what is the better choice. Organic tomato from Mexico or locally grown tomato without the organic label?  Much like when CCH got Aliens into REI and production could not keep up with demand and keep quality up to standards, what happens when organic gets into wall mart? can they really fill all those wall mart and BJ's shelves while still following good organic practices or is there a shitload of cheating going on?  can organic certifications be bought in south America? Is as simple as a straight up bait and switch? 

Walmart does a lot of things wrong, but I don’t think they’re what’s wrong with organic.

What’s wrong with organic is that it’s used as a mark of quality for the produce itself, rather than a mark of environmentally sustainable practices. Because of that popular misconception, farms largely follow organic practices only if they want that certification. Otherwise, they can’t charge enough to make the added risk sustainable. Thus, only large operations and operations that exclusively sell to up-market stores (think Whole Foods at the low end) can afford to go organic.This is to say nothing of the selective breeding and outright genetic engineering that allows produce to survive the drive from Arizona or California all the way to Boston. Selecting for that and overall yield have robbed produce of their flavor and nutritional content.Basically, if people stopped equating “organic” with “healthier” and started equating it with “better for the environment”, i’m convinced that the standards would change to be less anti-competition.
Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 196
Jaren Watson wrote: “Energy bars” are pretty much nuts, raisins, seeds, and some form of sugar. People complain about the sugar.

Here’s a solution I’ve been going with lately. Buy nuts, seeds, and raisins in bulk. Back in the day this combo was called trail mix, if I recall correctly.

No added sugar, no single-use packaging.

Basically - yes: this is what you do. 

The value of something like the Clif Bar is its convenience - that is is single-use, and loaded with calories, perhaps from sources you don't want.

There's lots of alternatives to this - they just take a modicum of preparation.

As an aside: simple sugars aren't the worst to have on a long run/death march. Even ketogenec ultra runners suck gels down like no tomorrow during their races. There's do-it-yourself recipes to make those, as well as large pouches you can refill your own container with, if you do not want the single serving packets (which seem to get lost, easily). Something like Honey Stinger "gels" are just honey, water, salt/electrolytes and maybe a few vitamins. If it didn't hurt my teeth just thinking about it, bringing along a squeeze bottle of maple syrup would probably work out well.
Steve Marshall · · Concord NH · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 42
Lena chita wrote:

 minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, ...

many chemicals used in commercial agriculture are harmful to people and environment, and that better practices are awailable, including measures that result in less soil and fertilizer runoff, and less pesticides sprayed. 

I don't like the distinction between "synthetic" and "naturally occurring."
There are plenty of naturally occurring compounds used in farming (and any other industrial process) that are damaging to the environment and the consumer, and there are plenty of synthetic ones that aren't.

I would prefer if there was a food certification standard that didn't care about arbitrary distinctions like this, and instead issued certifications based on the farmer using practices and materials that have been thoroughly studied by independent bodies, and vetted as likely to be safe (to the best of our human knowledge) to both the environment and the consumer. Whether synthetic or not. "Sustainable" is a pretty decent label for that...

In the larger picture, cheap food means industrial farming in the cheapest way possible. Plenty of people cannot afford to eat "organic" or "sustainable." If every farm was forced to be organic/sustainable, absolutely food prices would increase. Those people have a choice, something like, between starving now, and maybe cancer at some undefined point in the future. Obviously they need to eat. I do think there must be a solution to global food production that doesn't require environmentally damaging practices and disease-inducing additives. But in the name of short term shareholder corporate profits, such solutions are not being entertained by the big players in the industry.


My approach to this has been to try and shift my diet to include more sustainable products while keeping my food budget constant. For example, cheap meat is inhumane and unsustainable. So the solution is to buy the more expensive, humanely and sustainably produced meat and eat less of it. This means getting more nutrients like protein from plant-based sources like rice and beans, which are much cheaper. Or getting iron from green veggies. And so on. This means I cook different dishes too. I don't think eating meat is inherently unethical, but learning some vegetarian/vegan cooking techniques have allowed me to greatly reduce my meat intake while maintaining good nutrition to support climbing.

It's an adjustment but IMO it is one that should be promoted on a larger scale. It also means eating things that are in-season (e.g. local tomatoes in summer and no mexican tomatoes in winter), and preserving them for winter, such as by freezing or canning. It's still more expensive, monetarily and in terms of time and convenience. But these are some strategies to minimize that impact if you are in a position to do so.
Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

"Organic" in the grocery story is a certification based on some vary arbitrary standards that often do not have strong scientific basis.

Plants don't care if a nitrogen molecule passed through a cow's butt before it arrived in the soil.

Cyanide is a naturally occurring substance.

And Dihydrogen Monoxide is allowed to be used on organic farms. Let that sink in.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

Not  saying wall Mart and  whole foods are wrong for  carrying organic.  Just  100% convinced that the suppliers are cheating to  meet the  demands  of keeping those stores  stocked.  Heard a show on npr  where they  investigate  seafood and find that the  domestic wild  caught  label didn't  mean  much... 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Steve Marshall wrote:

I don't like the distinction between "synthetic" and "naturally occurring."
There are plenty of naturally occurring compounds used in farm <>

I would prefer if there was a food certification standard that didn't care about arbitrary distinctions like this, and instead issued certifications based on the farmer using practices and materials that have been thoroughly studied by independent bodies, and vetted as likely to be safe (to the best of our human knowledge) to both the environment and the consumer. Whether synthetic or not. "Sustainable" is a pretty decent label for that...
<> My approach to this has been to try and shift my diet to include more sustainable products while keeping my food budget constant. 

<>
It's an adjustment but IMO it is one that should be promoted on a larger scale. It also means eating things that are in-season <>
I cut your post in order not to quote a well of text, but I pretty much agree. 

I think that synthetic fertilizers, technological advances in agriculture, and plant breeding improvements were revolutionary, and we are not ever going back to the “good old days” when farmers were the majority of US population. Nor should we want to.

But just like with other seminal discoveries/advances of the 20th century, e.g. antibiotics, or plastics, we have embraced and overused them without full understanding of the costs and consequences. IMO 21st century will be the time when we correct these things. And correcting doesn’t mean going back to the days before these inventions, but rather using things better, because we now have better understanding of costs and consequences. 

“Organic” is a historic term, and not the best. But there is “organic certification“, and there is no such thing as “sustainable certification”. 
Maybe 10 years down the line there would be, regulatory bodies move slowly. 
In the meantime, when you are an individual dealing with a small local farm that you can visit/see for yourself, you don’t need that official certification. And given the burden/cost of getting an official certification, it is not even practical for small-scale farmers. But when you are a large corporation, and looking for large-scale suppliers, that official certification is at least some guarantee. 
Is it perfect- no. You can use only approved fertilizers/pesticides, and still  not do anything to control the soil erosion or nutrient runoff. Can people cheat? Obviously. But when independent labs test products for pesticides, the result is always the same: products labeled “organic” have a lot less (something like 98%) pesticides on/in them. Not 100%, whether because of cheating, or because of drift, or whatever, but that is not an insubstantial reduction. 

And while I agree with your personal choices, and I’m making very similar voices myself, I think this is too big for just individual choices to change things. We can’t reuse/recycle our way out of plastic problem, and we can’t fix agriculture business just by buying local and reducing the red meat consumption. We should still be doing all those things, but corporations that produce/use stuff have to make changes, too. And that’s why I think that every step, whether it’s TJ announcing that they will be phasing our single use plastics, or Cliff bar announcing that they are switching to organic, is a good thing. 

But the corporations, just like people, won’t go more than they need to. There will be more companies switching to compostable packaging, if there is a bigger cost associated with using regular plastic packaging. There will be more people bringing their own grocery bags if there is a charge for the bags you get handed at store. Etc


Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

I work in agricultural consulting, mostly with citrus and avocado growers. Organic certification is not costly, even for small farms, but organic practices are. Crops that are certified organic sell at a premium but often not enough to offset the costs.

And many, perhaps most, organic farmers will cheat and use conventional fertilizers. There is a huge cost difference and it is easy to get away with it.

My issue with the "organic" label is that it is an oversimplification based on nonscientific notions like "natural is good, manufactured is bad." Chemistry doesn't work that way. If we want to eliminate pesticides in our food, then we should regulate pesticides specifically. Don't lump many different practices, some good, others nonsensical, into a broad category of "organic." Address the specific problems with specific solutions instead of relying on consumer ignorance and pseudo science.

There's also no correlation between "organic" and "sustainable."  Those are just two words that appeal to certain markets so they are used together as if they were interchangeable. They are not.

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Pro Bars are superior. And Honey Stinger. 

Doug Chism · · Arlington VA · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 5

I would pay more for food that isnt killing the environment. No antibiotics, no hormones, no pesticides, recyclable wrappers, factory's run on renewable energy, ect. But the people willing to do so are so small it wont stop the destruction, so at some point, why bother unless it gets legislated. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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