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Organic Food

Organic Food Down to Earth - Why do we need it? How is it different?

Two things stand out in any consideration of organic food:

• It is not just ordinary food unpolluted by pesticides etc, it has a distinctive health-giving vitality; (Ref 1)
• We are not talking 'intuition versus science' - organic growing techniques give plants the soil-life environment they were evolved over millions of years to develop and thrive in, as established by biological science in the past century or-so since the 1880s. We need to encourage more scientists into organics.

Three hundred million years ago the evolutionary process developed a link between plant roots and specialised soil fungi, mycorrhiza: the fungi digest soil substances and sheath the plant roots to pass the nutrition into the plants. Virtually all plants today, grasses, crops, trees, have this dependence. This is the linchpin of organic growing (see Roots of Health in Ref 2). Deprived of this link (where, for instance, the fungi do not have the soil organic matter to live onv or they are killed off by misuse of chemical fertilisers) the plants decline in resistance to disease and pest attack and lose their vitality: there are recorded instances of conventional sugar beet fields with heavy aphid attack, next to organic fields clear of aphids; with truly organic growing, pesticides and chemical fertilisers progressively become unnecessary.

This higher health status of organic crops is passed on to animals and humans that feed on them. And this is the justification for the sheer slog and discipline in growing the stuff. Essential reading is the Soil —Association's "Shane Heaton Publications" for critically presented instances of these health effects (Ref 3).

It is easier to study and record the health effect of organics on animals other than humans because generations are quicker and feeding patterns more controlled and concise. In the 1920s Sir Albert Howard in India found his organically-fed cattle did not pick up the endemic foot and mouth disease, even when they rubbed noses with infected herds. Similar observations on animal health have been made in the UK and elsewhere; see Ref 3 section "Observed Heath Effects". In this country no case of the recent BSE (mad-cow disease) has occurred on anvorganic farm which reared all its own livestock: Organic Standards have excluded the feeding of animal protein to ruminants since the 1980s.

Scientific feeding trials with animals: poultry, rabbits, cats and rats have resulted in health benefits including higher fertility and reduced peri-natal mortality. The rat trials are typically brought to an end by the non-organic generations breaking down in physical and behavioural health to the extent of violence and cannibalism to extinction.

As for human health effects, there have been decades of circumstantial evidence of notably improved physical and behavioural health - quicker recovery from or avoidance of the usual individual and family illnesses, injuries and infections - on changing to a partly organic diet. A recent poll on has shown 84% of mothers have found organic food better for the family's health. More formal studies, like the New Zealand boarding school (read p.47 of Ref 3) show even firmer patterns of improved health and behaviour. Nutritional medical therapies, such as the Gerson Cancer Therapy, emphasise the essential need for organic food (read p.48 of Ref 3 and "A Time to Heal" by Beata Bishop, Ref 4).

Nothing of course, is 100% in nutritional therapy - that's the nature of life functions. What we must not do is talk as if organics is a cure-all. There are no 'Superfoods' - just proper high nutrition food which is worth finding.

However, it is my personal belief, rational I think, that further down the line it should be the underpinning of a national pro-active health service to ensure every human is built and reared and maintained throughout lifetime from before conception (Ref 5) on true organic input; the hurdles of personal food choice, cost and trading, would have to be eased, quite an enterprise. I do believe, even on the evidence we already have that this would result after a few generations, in the serious breakdown-. diseases and behaviours typical of today lessening to very low levels. It really is not all in the genes. We have a Pandora's Box dangling before us, untried.

Just what is the nature of this total quality in organic food is not yet properly understood. Maybe it's only the high percentage of minerals, vitamins and other nutritional factors (Ref 6). Or perhaps the conveyance to us of a resonance related to the evolutionary integration of plant growth and our life formation. We need more scientists, with a forward-looking mentality, to work in this field. Enough for the present to accept that to restore ourselves into the chain of life which evolution has given us for the making and maintenance of our bodies and minds must obviously be promoting our bodily ability to overcome the serious breakdown and dysfunctions and lessen their continued arising.

Until the time when governments and the medics pick up on the value of organics we have to rely on ourselves to scheme out how to make best use of where and how organic food is available. We are fortunate in that most supermarkets stock a basic range of organic foods. Most farmers' markets have some organic stalls. Farm gate and health shop sales may sometimes not be certified organic. The UK/EU regulatory legislation is very supportive; in the UK we have about half a dozen bodies authorised to licence organic food and all such food must be marked at point of sale. The Soil Association (UK5) probably has the strictest and widest-ranging standards. Get to know and look out for the symbols and logos.

My belief is that the most effective way to use organic food is to choose a few basic everyday items to eat regularly, all the time, as far as possible to the exclusion of non-organic. I suggest: bread (wholemeal organic, sliced or un-sliced, is available everywhere); milk (all grades, organic are available in most supermarkets); green veg, or all veg; potatoes; oatmeal and cereals. Meat, chicken, lamb, beef can be found fairly easily. Just the odd organic apple or tomato added onto ordinary food can't be doing much good. And to encourage you to do things this way read 'We Want Real Food' (Ref 7) a widely researched revelation of the deficiencies of ordinary food at the present time. If you have any earth space at all, grow some stuff for yourselves (Ref 8).

1. 'Vitality' in this area means the intrinsic active power to nutrition and boost all the life formations and functions.
2. "Roots of Heath", John Reeves and Neil Ward, Eastleigh, Greenfield Close, Joys Green, Lydbrook, Glos GL7 9RD (01594861196)
3. "The Shame Heaton Publications" published and supplied by Soil Association, South Plaza, Marlborough Street, Bristol BS1 SAX (0117 314 5000). Order to include Sections: The Basics, Consumer Guide; Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, a review of the evidence' Observed Health Effects (read specially pages 47 - 65 of this one). A wide-ranging review of a century of scientific studies into the quality and health effects of organic products. Essential reading to make your own decisions.
4. A Time to Heal, Beata Bishop, Severn Press. Autobiography of a recovery on the Gerson Therapy.
5. Contact Foresight Association for Pre-conceptual Care on 01243 868001
6. The recent ED Quality Low Input Food study establishes substantially higher percentages of nutrients in organic produce.
7. "We Want Real Food", Graham Harvey, Constable, 2006
8. To ensure your own soil has the mycorrhiza, buy the inoculatory powder, 'Rootgrow', from garden centres or contact 'Rootgrow'on 01795 411 527 and via the web at for advice.

Riccardo Ling: 020 8778 8387 (UK). Phone with queries and reactions

June 2008


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