Readers React

Buying organic isn't just about personal health

To the editor: Walking or working out is an investment in our health, instead of spending that time making more money. Similarly, buying organic food is investing not only in our own health, but in everyone's health. ("Is organic food worth the higher price? Many experts say no," May 19)

When we buy nonorganic food, what are the effects on farmworkers exposed to pesticides? Petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides washing into our environment? Small organic farmers being forced off the land? Patent holders' growing monopoly on genetically engineered seeds?

Nonorganic food prices do not reflect the cost of such damages.

With the diminishing efficacy of voting, our power as consumers might turn out to be all the power we have left. We need to use that power wisely.

Sheila Bernard, Camarillo

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To the editor: David Lazarus exposes the organic scam for what it is. I took up backyard gardening shortly after college and have been at it ever since with mixed success. I dabbled in organic practices, but the results varied.

I'm actually the garden manager at our local community garden. I love having the space, and I adhere to the organic rules, but the yields are sketchy and the pests take a large part of your crop. Not being able to use pesticides takes its toll, hence I continue to vegetable garden, in pots, in my backyard.

There is very little evidence to support the myth that organic food is more healthful than standard commercial fare. It is truly a faith-based concept.

David Pohlod, Oak Park

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To the editor: I always choose organic, for all the reasons mentioned in Lazarus' column. But I also do so because of the one thing not mentioned in the story: The food tends to taste better.

Fruits and vegetables are often sweeter and crisper — not always, of course. I've bought strawberries and blueberries that are as sour as a lime. But, on balance, organic is my preference.

Richard McCurdy, Burbank

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