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 www.mumsnet.com
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
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
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,
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 http://www.friendlyfunqi.co.uk
Riccardo Ling: 020 8778 8387 (UK). Phone with queries and