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Discussion Starter #1
The other threads on organics got me looking more into organic labeling & issues, and last night my brother brought up a recent The Nation topic -- food.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060911/mello" target="_blank">http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060911/mello</a><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Whether they work in the fields or in processing plants, most workers on organic farms, like those on conventional farms, are immigrants from Mexico who earn minimum wage or slightly more and receive no benefits. Fieldwork on organic farms can be especially strenuous because farmers employ back-breaking methods like hand-weeding to avoid using pesticides.</div>
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<div class="quote-block">In 2004 farmworker groups lobbied the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration to restrict hand-weeding. Organic farmers led the backlash against the proposal. While they have devised many creative tactics for banishing weeds without pesticides--singeing them with torches, slicing them with disks, allowing them to flourish before planting and then mowing them down--every organic farmer I talked to insisted there's only one way to completely rid your crop of the pesky plants: sitting, kneeling or bending, plucking them out one by one.<br><br><br><br>
...The farmers ultimately triumphed, and OSHA exempted organic farms from the new rules, which went into effect last year.</div>
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I had never even thought about this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> Looks like some orgs (one in oregon!) are addressing how to fix this. But still, it seems a long way coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So my question is... is it better to buy organic which is harder on workers, or conventional which is harder on the earth? or something else?
 

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Oh! Thanks for starting this thread. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/yes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":yes:"> I think about this everytime I go to the market and get bananas. There are two organic brands and one that is fair trade. So far, I've been buying the fair trade ones, in the hope that pesticides, etc. will be addressed as part of worker safety, but I'm not too sure.<br><br><br><br>
We need to get it together, indeed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
But the problem with fair trade is that it is expensive to be certified fair trade. So the fair trade certification is much easeir to get for larger organizations, leaving little ones to forgo the certification and hope that openly publishing their processes will help.<br><br><br><br>
It seems like there should be a way for smaller companies to get grants or something to allow them to obtain fair trade status as well.
 

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I grow my food organically and I rarely weed. There are ways of growing which reduce or eliminate the need for weeding. There's no need for "back-breaking" labor to grow food.<br><br><br><br>
For those interested in less-work methods of growing food I recommend the books of Masanobu Fukuoka, John Jeavons, and Bill Mollison.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OregonAmy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
It seems like there should be a way for smaller companies to get grants or something to allow them to obtain fair trade status as well.</div>
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Hm. You'd think some enviro-type charity might assist here. I suppose they could just publish their story on the food containers, etc. Do you know if there is any regulation re the use of the phrase "fair trade"?
 

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I think everyone draws their own line in the sand and picks their own issues they're willing to take a stand for (or, in this case, pay more money for). I personally think synthetic pesticides are a greater evil than poor labor standards. Synthetic pesticides will harm more living beings and do more damage to the planet for a longer time than inadequate labor standards. And while it may seem cruel and callous to say it, human labor is a renewable resource.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tesseract</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think everyone draws their own line in the sand and picks their own issues they're willing to take a stand for (or, in this case, pay more money for). I personally think synthetic pesticides are a greater evil than poor labor standards. Synthetic pesticides will harm more living beings and do more damage to the planet for a longer time than inadequate labor standards. And while it may seem cruel and callous to say it, human labor is a renewable resource.</div>
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But you drive a car right? So your priorities are:<br><br><br><br>
1. yourself<br><br>
2. the environment<br><br>
3. other people<br><br><br><br>
is that about right?
 

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Our entire food-growing system is exploitative, not just the animal products industry. We just pick what degree of exploitation we find acceptable or justifiable. I think the growing of food could become a more shared responsibility, instead of burdening the poorest members of society with it.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>remilard</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
But you drive a car right? So your priorities are:<br><br><br><br>
1. yourself<br><br>
2. the environment<br><br>
3. other people<br><br><br><br>
is that about right?</div>
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No. I bus commute. But if other people were more important to me than myself, I'd probably just kill myself now so I could stop taking up their resources.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OregonAmy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
So my question is... is it better to buy organic which is harder on workers, or conventional which is harder on the earth? or something else?</div>
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Definetely better to support the migrant farm workers.. They're the ones who need the jobs and need the money.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tesseract</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
No. I bus commute. But if other people were more important to me than myself, I'd probably just kill myself now so I could stop taking up their resources.</div>
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It is easy to say that the protecting the environment is more important than protecting people but until you make the same sacrifices that you are willing to force onto others you are really just being misanthropic.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kpickell</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Definetely better to support the migrant farm workers.. They're the ones who need the jobs and need the money.</div>
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That's what I'm thinking as well, kp. I suppose buying local as much as possible would help ease the environmental issue, but sometimes that can be difficult - esp in winter when crops are pretty much non-existant.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>remilard</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It is easy to say that the protecting the environment is more important than protecting people but until you make the same sacrifices that you are willing to force onto others you are really just being misanthropic.</div>
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Do you think it's any different when you turn it around? Think about all the poor people in various parts of the country and world who are dying at shockingly high rates, and dying grisly deaths, from long-term exposure to synthetic chemicals. Go read up on what life is like on Cancer Alley in Louisiana. Until you make the same sacrifices that you are willing to force onto others you are really just being misanthropic.<br><br><br><br>
People are part of the environment. Caring about the environment IS caring about people.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tesseract</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Do you think it's any different when you turn it around? Think about all the poor people in various parts of the country and world who are dying at shockingly high rates, and dying grisly deaths, from long-term exposure to synthetic chemicals. Go read up on what life is like on Cancer Alley in Louisiana. Until you make the same sacrifices that you are willing to force onto others you are really just being misanthropic.<br><br><br><br>
People are part of the environment. Caring about the environment IS caring about people.</div>
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I took you up on reading about cancer alley.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>wikipedia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
is based on anecdotal evidence. There do not appear to be any scientific studies that clearly indicate that the incidence of cancer in this region is above the average for the rest of the United States, while there are studies that indicate that it is actually lower. However, in one Louisiana town with a population under 20,000, 3 cases of rhabdomyosarcoma were reported in a 14 month period. Rhabdomysosarcoma, an extremely rare and devastating childhood cancer, has a national average of one child out of a million. It is clear that more research needs to be done.<br><br><br><br>
A study by Frederic T. Billings III, M.D., argues that Louisiana does indeed have an alarmingly high lung cancer rate, but that the source is not the "cancer alley" parishes, but the other parishes of Louisiana, where tobacco smoking can be blamed for most of the lung cancer.[1]<br><br>
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Even if all the evidence weren't anecdotal what does this have to do with modern pesticides?
 

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Farm workers who work with/around pesticides are at serious risk for cancers. They are a high risk group or maybe I'm not understanding this conversation.
 

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No, I think you are understanding the conversation. Persisent synthetic pesticides hurt the migrant farm workers AND a lot of other people AND a lot of other life forms. And they keep doing harm because they don't readily break down.<br><br><br><br>
I've read about statistically significant differences in the rates of assorted cancers in various parts of the country where exposure to an array of organic chemicals is high, but it's been a good ten years, and I don't recall those sources or have them handy. But I think citing Wikipedia is far from the authoritative word.<br><br><br><br>
But I won't deny being a misanthrope. Hell, no.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Would americans pay for produce that was organically produced <i><b>and</b></i> humanely cultivated?<br><br><br><br>
probably not. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tesseract</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br><br><br>
I've read about statistically significant differences in the rates of assorted cancers in various parts of the country where exposure to an array of organic chemicals is high, but it's been a good ten years, and I don't recall those sources or have them handy.<br></div>
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If you did have them handy, what would they have to do with modern pesticides?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>gaya</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Farm workers who work with/around pesticides are at serious risk for cancers. They are a high risk group or maybe I'm not understanding this conversation.</div>
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What if farmers at organic farms were harmed more heavily?
 
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