Memorandum submitted by Mr T Appleyard
I heard that the Committee on Agriculture were
interested in views about organic farming.
What no one seems to have made clear is the
definition of organic food. We are all lead to believe that the
term organic refers to that ascribed by those who promote the
product. No one has asked what the term organic means. In biological
terms all food is organic no matter how it is grown. You cannot
say that there is a definition which only covers one process but
not the other.
Organic means by organic chemistry in the way
the plants grow. What you do to make this growth is not related
to the organic nature of food production in that plants will accept
what you give them providing they take this up into plant. It
does not necessarily have to do with our contribution.
Because all food is organic you may label food
under this description whether you wait for nature to act or whether
it comes from a deep hole in the ground via a production line
to make the product. No one has defined organic produce against
something like a plastic flower which is also organic chemistry.
This argument goes on to infinity because you cannot say with
certainty that you have two identical plants one of which is organic
and the other is not. Plants only work the way they want and not
what you do to aid their growth.
It has been noted that food grown without chemicals
is described as organic but growth without chemicals is still
the chemical process in a different way. All life is made of chemicals
no matter what you claim. Man can make the same chemicals that
animals do if they wish but this is relatively ineffective, plants
work the same whether it is muck or chemical.
What no one seems able to say is that if you
do not use man produced material to grow plants how are you going
to produce large quantities of food. It is known that at least
ten times the bulk is needed to rot than to dig up out of the
ground. This natural material has to come from somewhere. Do you
breed more animals to do the job for which you need the grass
which needs feeding or do you do what we do at the present? Mass
marketing with animal or vegetable processes shows that most effort
goes into making the system work than in producing food. What
do you do with all the animals you need to produce their muck?
No one has been able to grow food with one type of agriculture
because somewhere down the system things go wrong. How do you
sell that product you do not want that you have to grow in the
system used before the intervention of man and his chemistry?
Who will pay three times the price for the plant which grows the
same way whether you use chemicals or natural material? All the
plants you grow are organic?
You only have to look back in the past to see
the problems of nature's way and low crop yields. You find crop
failure is the problem.
No one has thought about how you deal with the
animals problem in the soil in what we are told is organically
grown food or how it affects us like the bugs and the smell. Soil
soon loses its use when you incorrectly use any system and this
includes organic. Nature is slow but man is fast. The two do not
work together if you want results.
We are told that to be organic we have to wait
a few years to be so. Recent studies show that chemicals stay
in the soil many decades and even longer. How does this fit in
with what we are told is organic farming? There is no answer.
In practice most animal and plant based systems
are the system of crofts where the croft sustains you and the
living comes from the extra you do when you do not grow your own
food. This does not seem to do much good for mass markets!
We are all told to jump on the new idea which
in this case seems to go back to antiquity. We are told it is
better but there has been no proof. No one has really told the
truth in that all food grows organically no matter whether you
use animal and plant material or made by man. We see everything
like this come and go depending on who promotes their idea for
you to take up. No one ever looks at the negative aspects of a
limited system based on a theory for the future which was only
practical in the past for their situation, experience and knowledge.
Do we have wind blown wind mills, sheets of
cloth bleaching in the sun of the like because we are told to
and that is the way to go? Do you want to go back to fat years
and lean years and the plagues of pests?
To grow food without help means backward steps.
How long can you function in this manner? Anyone who does something
has to do it in the economics of the day or they do not work.
Is this what everyone wants or going back to prehistoric times?
Most systems only work with an integration of
man and natural materials for them to do what we need them to
do. If you go back to the logic of this planet all the country
would be covered in trees. What would you eat then? This is the
final organic function of nature. The Russians trawling in the
North Sea show how futile it is to convert fish into fertiliser.
Not very. Is man following the leader or looking at a problematical
15 May 2000