The Organic Center reveals benefits of organics

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118719898722995.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of‘, ‘Organically-grown tomatoes were found to have much higher levels of two key flavonoids—quercetin and kaempferol—in a long-term, one-of-a-kind study at the University of California, Davis.‘);

Long-term trials deliver positive news for consumers and organic farmers

Two long-term studies comparing the performance of conventional and organic farming systems have documented significant benefits from organic management. A major scientific paper was published June 23 based on California’s “Long-Term Research on Agricultural Systems” (LTRAS) project. The focus is on health-promoting flavonoids in tomatoes. And scientists at Iowa State have recently reported results of their “Long-Term Agricultural Research” (LTAR) experiments, in conjunction with the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Organic tomatoes found to be more nutritious

Organically-grown tomatoes were found to have much higher levels of two key flavonoids—quercitin and kaempferol—in a long-term, one of a kind study at the University of California, Davis. Remarkably, the team found that the longer the tomatoes had been grown organically, the bigger the difference in flavonoid concentrations, compared to the conventional plots. This intriguing study provides strong empirical support for the “dilution effect”—a major focus of ongoing Organic Center research.

Organic production increases yields and builds soil quality in Iowa

Results from the ongoing study of conventional and organic cropping systems near Greenfield, Iowa, are turning heads. By the fourth year in an organic crop rotation, organic corn and soybean yields rose above conventionally-grown fields. Just like in the California tomato study, the improving performance in the organic plots in Iowa is attributed to soil quality improvements: more soil organic matter, enhanced microbial activity in more diverse communities of organisms, and reduced soil acidity.

Did you know?

More than 95 percent of people spends less money on food than Americans. Per capita food expenditures in the United States are near the lowest in the world because of our high average disposable income, not low food prices.

Remarkable study concludes that pesticides are cutting crop yields by as much as one-third

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has a history of shaking up quiet fields of science by publishing surprising results and novel experiments. A June 12, PNAS study fits the bill and projects that pesticides and other soil contaminants are reducing crop yields by about one-third because of impaired nitrogen fixation and plant signaling. The most widely used pesticide in the United States—glyphosate (Roundup)—is known to be directly toxic to a number of soil microorganisms, including some responsible for nitrogen fixation.

Coming soon

“No Free Lunch: How the Pursuit of High Yields has Compromised Our Food Supply” (our working title), a Critical Issue Report due out this summer. The author, Brian Halweil, is a member of the Center’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). This timely and provocative report documents the declining nutrient content of many foods, traces nutrient dilution to its roots, and provides an encouraging overview of how organic farming systems can help recover what high-yield, conventional farming has lost.

Just-released report on preventing E. coli outbreaks stirring up dust

The Center’s report “Unfinished Business: Preventing E. coli O157 Outbreaks Caused by Leafy Greens” will be featured in the cover story of the August California Farmer, the next issue of California Coast and Ocean, and in a lengthy article on the response to the E. coli outbreak due to run soon in the L.A. Times. The report dismisses the feral pig theory and argues that bacteria carried in dust from a nearby cattle pasture were the likely trigger of the tragic September 2006 outbreak. Thanking the Center for the report, one journalist wrote:

“This report illuminates and clarifies exactly what the public most needs to hear about the outbreak and the food safety crisis. It provides some of the best analysis I’ve read: very thoughtful, thorough and clear.”

Concious Goods Veggie bust tour features The Organic Center

Look for The Organic Center's logo and literature on the Conscious Goods Alliance biodiesel bus, coming to a Whole Foods Market store near you. The “Veggie Bus,” a reconfigured 1984 touring coach that runs on recycled vegetable oil, is on a nationwide tour this summer to 190 stores and various eco-events to promote renewable energy, fair trade and organic products. The Veggie Bus is captained by Stephen Brooks, founder of Kopali Organics, a fair-trade organic products company that supports organic farming in Latin America.

Zaadz eco-social networking site partners with The Organic Center

The Zaadz social networking site, dedicated to a sustainable future, counts nearly 80,000 eco-conscious registered members and more than 1.2 million hits per month. Now, Zaadz is featuring The Organic Center as a sponsor. Founded by CEO Brian Johnson in 2004, Zaadz means “seeds” in Dutch. Zaadz is “MySpace for people who want to make a difference,” Johnson says. Register at

Core Truths on the major benefits of organic food and farming

The Center's groundbreaking 108-page coffee table book is still available. Core Truths provides an overview of the science showing that:

Organic often tastes better

Organic produce contains, on average, 30 percent higher levels of antioxidants

Organic farming can cut mycotoxin risk by more than 50 percent

Organic food dramatically reduces pesticide exposure

Organic farms typically use less energy

Order your copy now! Cost is $30 (plus $5 shipping and handling in U.S.).

Donate $100 now! Receive free copy of Core Truths

Be a part of supporting vital research about the science behind organic. Make a gift of $100 to The Organic Center now, and they’ll send you a free, hard-cover copy of their groundbreaking new book, Core Truths (a $35 value.)

Backed by leading scientists, physicians and scholars, The Organic Center is passionately committed to two goals.

1) Research: providing free, peer-reviewed, credible science that explores the health and environmental benefits of organic agriculture.

2) Education: helping people and organizations access and better understand science that sheds light on organic benefits.

from the Aug 15-21, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!