Thursday, May 12, 2011

Organic Farming

Had a conversation with Luisa's uncle on Sunday who farms around 1,000 acres (400 hectares).  One crop he grows is corn, which is mostly used for animal feed here. And he keeps up on all the chemicals and other stuff found on the corn. The list is regularly published in Italian agriculture magazines.  Italy is maybe the most heavily regulated country in the EU.  Anyway, he told me that unless organic corn is grown in a desert climate it will have mold on it all the way to the final product.  And he believes that it is unhealthy.  So in any country that has a wet or humid climate, dew on the plants in the morning, including most of the US and Europe organic corn would not be a good idea.

Another note is the each country has it's rules regarding organic farming.  Italy is very strict about it.  According to him countries such as Germany, Belgium, the UK, and Austria allow animals to be feed most anything that is organic, that even includes chicken droppings.  Whereas for example the milk and cheese from say Switzerland where the cows graze on natural grass is quite healthy.  His list of good organic farming countries includes, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Poland and to some extent France.  Now I have a better idea of why the milk we buy at the Lidil, from Germany, costs half as much as the local Italian product.

I guess for me the bottom line is that one can't just fallow some mantra that everything labeled organic is healthier than stuff grown with good old fashioned chemicals.  We must be more informed than that in our decisions.

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