Monday, August 30, 2010

Organic versus "deep" organic

<idle musing>
I just got a copy of The Winter Harvest Handbook from the library last week. Because of the garden, I didn't have time to read it until this weekend. In it, Eliot Coleman makes a very interesting distinction between the types of organic food available. He labels one "industrial organic" and the other "deep-organic."

So, what's the difference? Basically, a mindset. Industrial organic still sees nature as an enemy to be overcome. So, they use pesticides and augments and fertilizers—all "organic" of course. But, it is the same mindset that produces the industrial schlock we call food. The agricultural/industrial complex has no problem with it; they speak the same language, just different dialects. The industrial organic market can still be sold on the need for chemicals.

Deep-organic sees nature as an ally; all we are doing is cooperating. If there are pests, it is because the plant is missing some necessary nutrient; we need to find out what. Basically, we need to take time to listen, observe, and respond. That kind of thinking can't be marketed to, so it is a challenge to the agricultural industry.

Personally, I find the deep-organic view to be more scriptural. Oh, I know lots who hold to it are "tree-huggers" and nature worshipers, or some such (now that I think of it, I've been called a tree-hugger on more than one occasion). But, the source doesn't negate the insight. We are called to be stewards of creation; pouring pesticides—even organic ones—all over isn't being a good steward. It is just exploiting the land and upsetting the balance of nature that God put in place.

Sure, I know about the Fall and that it has an effect. But, for thousands of years, agriculture managed to survive without pesticides. Maybe we should re-examine our theology to make sure we haven't bought the industrial marketing lie that we need to pollute our life to make it livable...

Ask yourself, does a fish know it's wet? Do we know the degree to which the ultra-intensive commercialization of our life has influenced our decisions and outlook?

Just an
</idle musing>

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