Let me be upfront, for me it is clear that organic agriculture is a necessity if we wish to regenerate our lands and strive for food security for our own and future generations. Although the area of arable land that is cultivated according to organic standards is rising worldwide, it remains to be a fraction of the total area where mostly conventional practices rule. Certainly, the cost of producing organic produce, meat and dairy are higher, since the cost of regeneration are calculated as part of the product sum and presents a cost-benefit consumer dilemma. But then, conventional agriculture diverts these costs that will emerge elsewhere, as human and environmental health costs. Common sense tells me this is a serious sum we are neglecting when comparing organic and conventional practices. One of the challenges we face is the fact that it is difficult to show that eating organic produce would result in better health, of people, of the environment and that conventional practices with its widespread use of pesticides and other toxins adds up to impoverished health worldwide. 

A little story of cloud berries and the sweet bell pepper

I wake up, summer in the northern latitudes is bathing in light, I am in Norway and the sun barely disappears behind the mountainous horizon from the perspective of my hut.  There is at least one who thrives in this light, the cloudberry. The sweet fruit-bearing plant is a native of the sub arctic environment and for many Indigenous communities, picking wild cloudberries is part of their subsistence strategy. In fact, all cloudberries that are eaten are gathered in the wild, because of its unique environmental setting, its acidic soil, its permafrost combined with the 24hour light cycle as its highlight. The berries ripen over the summer and turn into a deep orange later in the season. For me, the light cycle is still a bit of a challenge, my body needs its darkness and rest for about 7 to 8 hrs daily. This period of rest is necessary for healthy growth, not just for me, but for many organisms dwelling on our planet. cloudberry

The sweet pepper, main ingredient of one of my favorite comfort dishes, shakshuka. North African in origin, it combines peppers, tomatoes, spices  as a sauce in which eggs are poached. The first step is to create the sauce, resulting in softened scrumptious bell pepper strips. At least that is what I get when I use good organically grown bell pepper. When none of those are available and I am stuck with firm conventional peppers, the dish never reaches the same stage of deliciousness, the pepper strips remain hard and tasteless. At least that is my experience, and I wonder, is it because many of these peppers are growing 24hr a day, in greenhouses with artificial light, without time to recuperate from their hard work. Common sense tells me that the organic one not only tastes better, but is probably more nutritious. Exceptionally, research exists that tells us that organic bell peppers are healthier than their conventional brethren. 

Naturally, the color of a fruit or vegetable tells us something about its nutritional value, the deep orange of the wild cloud berry means lots of vitamin C. Humans have been selectively breeding  the natives since time immemorial, but the light bulb (and other recent technological tricks) gave man more ammunition to manipulate co-creatures. Looks can be deceiving and the greenhouse bell pepper may have the looks but little else. Dig organic!