After Spinach: Organic versus Synthetics in Farming

The recent cases of E. Coli in organic spinach have reinvigorated the debate about food safety: how much do we know? What do we need to know? How much forest land must be plowed under to provide the resources for organic farming? Why is copper sulfate an approved organic fungicide if it is known to have negative environmental impacts? Are synthetic fertilizers really worse for the environment than "natural" fertilizers? Will 2.3 million people die if we convert all farming to organic methods?If these are questions that interest you, TreeHugger recommends you click onto BBC World Business Review and have a listen as Lord Melchett of the British Soil Association, Alex Avery from the Hudson Institute in the United States, pathologist Professor Vyvyan Howard of the University of Ulster, and Professor David Coggon of the British Medical Research Council debate the pros and cons of organic versus synthetic plant products for the health benefits of your food and for the environment. (Please note: this link is probably active for only a week, until the next program overwrites it. We will try to bring you the archive link if it is activated but cannot promise that, so jump on it today!)

About the photo: The blue tinge of copper sulfate on an orchard is easily recognizable to the passerby, but difficult to capture in a photo. The work of Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey explores the relationship between art and nature, in this case with the growth of crystalline copper sulfate into the image of a human being. After you have wound yourself up listening to the organic debate on BBC, take a few moments at the website of Artsadmin relaxing while exploring the vision of Ackroyd and Harvey. To find the work shown above and its explanation, click on the link below the picture and scan about two-thirds down the page (or search the page for "copper".)

Photo: Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey