The Skinny on Organic

  • Share
  • Read Later

Kudos to Jeffrey Kluger for arguing in "What's So Great About Organic Food?" [Sept. 6] that we should consider the treatment of animals — not just the health benefits to ourselves — in deciding whether to buy organic animal products. The best solution, though, is to eat as few animal products as possible, organic or not. It's more humane, it's healthier, and it increases the feeding power of the planet.
Alison Hansen-Decelles, CUMBERLAND, R.I., U.S.

Kluger's piece missed one reason to buy organic foods: the agribusiness factor. I'm not averse to the idea of nonorganic or genetically modified foods. They're probably the only way to feed the planet. But farmers across the world are being held hostage to the designer crops of a few corporations, and those in the developing world are getting the rawest of deals. Buying organic foods is one of the easiest ways to send a message of support to farmers who don't want to play ball with powerful multinationals.
Nicholas McCallum, SYDNEY

Conventional fertilizers do indeed boost crop production, but they damage the microorganisms in healthy soil, meaning that farmers must keep purchasing chemicals to get any production. America's treasure trove of rich topsoil is also being systematically squandered by "get more, faster" farming practices.
Heidi Klotz, BERLIN

The Green Revolution initially promises and provides more, but over time, it pollutes the environment, depletes the soil, reduces biodiversity and produces monocultures that are susceptible to pests and dependant on chemical pesticides and herbicides. When the whole picture is considered on a greater world scale, the answer is clear: we have no option but to go sustainable and organic.
Robyn Cosford, 

The term organic agriculture is totally inappropriate. Factories cannot produce synthetic potatoes or synthetic chicken; all agricultural products are organic. A more appropriate term would be ecological agriculture, in use in a few countries, for the type of agriculture that tries to approach natural conditions.

It would have been refreshing if TIME had allotted more print space to modern agricultural scientists. Given the chance, agriculture can show that it produces safe, healthy, nutritious and affordable food products in ways that are also good for the environment.
Edward Janke, 

The great food debate is both fascinating and complex, but going organic is only one aspect of good eating. Local of any kind is generally regarded as being better than organic flown halfway around the world.
David Bristow,

Leaving Iraq
Not all the U.S. troops withdrawing from Iraq are simply headed home, no matter how sweet home must be for tired soldiers [Going Home, Sept. 6]. Some will likely be redeployed to combat in Afghanistan, others to Yemen or Somalia to contain insurgents. It's unfortunate but certain that new battlefronts will emerge, only to be accompanied by more bloodshed and dead bodies.
Boon-tee Tan,

Congratulations to Yuri Kozyrev for his impressive photos in "Going Home." I wonder how all those mixed feelings shown on the faces of the U.S. soldiers may affect those who were in favor of the invasion of Iraq. All those young men put their lives at risk trying to give freedom to the country, yet some of its citizens are unhappy with the war and the new political organization, making the future of the nation less than promising.
J.M. Raichs,

The (Steve) Jobs Report
There is no paradox when viewing the depressed U.S. jobs report and the stunning Apple results as suggested in Zachary Karabell's "The Two Jobs Reports" [Sept. 6]. Apple's iPhone and iPad are almost completely manufactured in Asia, primarily in China. The spectacular results of Apple, if anything, reflect China's manufacturing vibrancy. The industry whose data would truly reflect a resurgence in U.S. jobs is housing. Houses can't be built in China and brought into the U.S.
Vijay Kumar,