02 Sep 2010:
Commercial Organic Farms
Produce Superior Soil and Fruit, Study Says
The most comprehensive study to date comparing commercial organic farms with conventional farms shows that the organic farms produce more flavorful and nutritious fruit and help create soils with superior chemical and biological properties.
Researchers from Washington State University, conducting a multi-disciplinary study of 13 organic and 13 conventional strawberry farms in California, found that the organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid; had a longer shelf life; contained more dry matter, or “more strawberry in the strawberry”; led to superior soils with improved carbon sequestration, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and micronutrients; and produced strawberries whose flavor matched or exceeded the taste of berries from conventional farms, which use pesticides and herbicides. “Our findings have global implications and advance what we know about the sustainability benefits of organic farming systems,” said John Reganold, lead author of the study, published in the journal PLoS ONE.
“We also show that you can have high quality, healthy produce without resorting to an arsenal of pesticides.”
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
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