11/13/2007 -the following are letters written by organic consumers in response to his comments that buying organic and local is dumb. Collin Peterson, chairman




Название11/13/2007 -the following are letters written by organic consumers in response to his comments that buying organic and local is dumb. Collin Peterson, chairman
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“Dear Congressman Peterson, I agree with you that paying 2-3 times as much for organic foods is not very savvy consumer behavior. But we don't always know what the choice is and, for those of us somewhat in the know (I have a masters degree in nutrition from Columbia University), the case is weaker and weaker for use of pesticides. This is not my particular expertise, but here are some of the things I have learned, and which you can (please) check. There is little doubt that pesticides and herbicides are in our groundwater and have measurable, negative impacts on the biosphere of the planet. We're part of nature. Many of them are known to negatively impact human health in some quantity but become legal partly because it is suspected that people will consume them in much lower quantities. Problem: There are very few studies measuring the effects of the complex combination of pesticides, herbicides and other poisons to which the typical American is exposed. Some that I have seen show a synergistic negative effect of certain combinations meaning that this is likely a partial explanation of the significant rise in rates of cancer and other diseases over the last half century or so. It is becoming clearer and clearer that the necessity for pesticides and herbicides in modern farming is something of a myth. Small to medium sized organic farms have been shown to be more productive per acre that giant commercial farms and much less victimized by blights that periodically affect farmers. There are many plant compounds beneficial to human health that develop in far lower quantities in plants grown “conventionally.” Salicylic acid is one of many examples. Local produce is shown repeatedly to be higher in nearly every, or every single measure of nutrients or other beneficial plant compounds (flavonoids, carotenoids, sulphoraphanes, etc. This is certainly only a partial explanation of why organic and local foods are important, but for many consumers, knowing fact sets like these, makes us willing to pay what it costs to get what we think are better foods. If the same quality were readily available cheaper, we'd buy it cheaper. We're not that “dumb.” Thanks for listening” Lords Valley, PA

“Your comments on October 17 regarding consumers who are willing to pay more for organic and local food as being “dumb” makes one wonder about your competence to chair a committee on agriculture. I suggest that you relinquish your committee chairmanship and turn it over to someone more knowledgeable of things agricultural.” Lawrence, KS

“I understand you think paying more for food labeled “organic” or “local” is dumb. I wonder, have you bought any Mattel toys labeled “made in China” lately? Pretty dumb to buy things just because they are labeled “made in USA” huh?”

“I just read your quote about being dumb enough to buy organic food. I'm one of those dumb people. I'm dumb enough to use solar panels to help keep my electric bills around $20. I'm dumb enough to use wood pellet stoves using American grown fuel to heat my house. I'm dumb enough to retire at the age of 49 by being frugal and saving my money, and I'm dumb enough to remember who you are and to work on your ouster when the next democratic administration comes into power, which looks like it may be soon.”

“You call organic consumers dumb for wanting to eat healthy food instead of the poison called food sold in stores today? Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“Congratulations Representative Peterson!! Your recent comment calling people like me dumb for purchasing organic and local food because we prefer not to ingest carcinogens, because we want to support our local community and at the same time, conserve energy, shows a real lack of understanding and foresight. Taking care of ourselves “and” the earth isn't becoming “less” popular, or are you that out of touch with the current 'trends'? I suppose farms that are not organic will continue to need a greater degree of federal support because they will become less and less viable. But then, maybe something like “pork-barrels” are involved. Anyway, you deserve the award from the Organic Consumers Award for the dumbest quote of the week. Frame it for posterity.”

“Here is why people want organic food: TRADE SECRETS: A MOYERS REPORT is an investigation of the history of the chemical revolution and the companies that drove it ? and how companies worked to withhold vital information about the risks from workers, the government, and the public. He relies on an archive of documents the public was never meant to see ?- documents that reveal the industry's early know-ledge that some chemicals could pose dangers to human health that were not disclosed at the time. But the documentary also reports a much larger story ? a never- before-told account of a campaign to limit the regulation of toxic chemicals and any liability for their effects. Today, every man, woman and child has synthetic chemicals in their bodies. No child is born free of them. As part of the investigation for TRADE SECRETS, Bill Moyers took part in a study sponsored by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine designed to measure the synthetic chemicals present in the human body. Even though Moyers has never worked in a chemical plant ? or lived near one ? he learned that his body contains a chemical soup of 84 industrial chemicals.” Lubbock, TX

“Are you calling me dumb? Because I don't want to contribute to putting unnecessary chemicals into my body or the environment? Because I choose to support my local economy? How ignorant of you, and offensive.”

Boulder, CO” Good quote. Just go ahead eating those chemicals and funding wars in far off places to pay for oil to transport crummy GMO food all over the world! You dingbat. How did you ever get elected????”

“Rep. Peterson: If the organic food industry is growing on its own, doesn't that suggest that increasing numbers of Americans have decided they do not want to eat chemicals and die of cancer and are willing to pay more to live longer and healthier lives?”

“Hello! Get educated.”

“There's nothing “dumb” about paying more for natural, healthy organic foods. Buying locally grown/produced foods is also a more responsible choice considering the resources required to ship food over long distances. Your view is certainly dumb, but buying organic and local food is not.” Tucson, AZ

“Hey Rep. Peterson, Way to go...showing your lack of insight, intelligence, and support for better nutrition for the general populace...by making the statement, “...And if people are dumb enough to pay that much [for organic produce and beef] then hallelujah.” How much in campaign contributions did YOU receive from large corporate farms and major NON-organic food distributors? Atta boy....NOT!” Ashland, OR

“What's dumb about wanting to safeguard my family's health? I want food grown with minimal use of any chemicals. What's dumb about supporting local food producers? These are my neighbors & friends. What's dumb about not adding to environmental pollution by not having my foods trucked across the country? Not to mention the quality of a fruit or vegetable by the time it is in the end user's household. “Fresh” carries a limited shelf life. Have you seen the amount of fruits & vegetables grocery stores throw out because the food goes bad before it gets to the store or can be sold? What are you doing to make a smaller environmental footprint on this earth? Oh, you probably don't think you add to our environmental problem. Most every person does to some degree. I am interested to know if you, your children & grandchildren eat ANY organic foods? If you did you would taste the difference. Your grandchildren & great grandchildren deserve to inherit a better earth and you need to do your part.”

“If we as responsible consumers are “dumb” for choosing organic because it is: a) actually GOOD for our health as opposed to the pesticide-covered produce grown in toxic dirt, and the tortured, completely unnatural, force-fed, confined, abused and inhumanely slaughtered animals you eat b) better for the environment as it doesn't deplete, contaminate, and essentially destroy the earth in numerous direct and indirect ways c) safer, healthier, and more cost-effective in the long run for the farmers than I suppose the definition I have of that word is the opposite, for being an organic consumer, I call that “anyone who actually uses their brain” versus a pawn to society. Congratulations on your award: OCA's dumbest quote of the week!”

“Dear Mr. Peterson, I urge you to do some research into why people are willing to pay more for local, naturally grown produce. Putting one's health as a spending priority is not something to be mocked. I cannot believe that someone in your position could make such careless statements. Sincerely mystified” Fort Bragg, CA

“Your dumb comment is so abrasive that I can't even tell you what I think about it in a civil manner. If you were capable of thinking, you'd know the reason organic food costs more is because it doesn't get the subsidies that standard agriculture gets. And you'd know the reason we are willing to pay more for it, is because we value our health along with the health of the planet. It's people like you who can't look past the dollar bill in their hand that has led to the state of our current health and health care problems. Do you realize we are subsidizing our own poor health?”

“I resent your attitude towards a difficult choice I make to put the health of my family above cheap, non-nutritional and potentially health-damaging food. More Americans would switch to local and organic if they could afford it. Government support for locally-grown and/or organic foods would be a tremendous help to families!”

“You recently were quoted as saying that organic consumers are dumb, but I must tell you that the correct statement should be that “Non-organic consumers are uninformed.” It is abhorrent that as the House Agriculture Chair, you feel comfortable speaking those words. Have you ever heard of rBGH, pesticides or genetically engineered foods? If you had, you would understand why one would choose to buy organic. There's a reason why most of the world is banning genetically engineered foods and you have the audacity to say that you don't understand why one would make the organic choice! You are living in a bubble and are unable to see or seek the truth. It's unfortunate to the millions of people that you are choosing to slowly poison. I'm really not sure how you sleep at night.” Rensselaer, NY

“I wonder what your grandchildren will think of your lack of concern about chemicals in our food when they are faced with the health & other problems that will result?”

" My family buys organic and local organic most of the time; We are not “dumb” as stated in your ignorant statement. We buy organic to keep out of our bodies the cocktail of pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, and antibiotics that infect our nation's food supply. That cocktail is thought by most objective scientists (not those that have been bought by chemical companies nor those who tout the corporate line) to be a major cause of many of the illnesses that are increasingly part of modern western, especially American, populations. If you are not eating organic as much as possible, then you are willingly ingesting the cocktail, and maybe you are the dumb one.” Albuquerque, NM

“Sir: I am a Nutritionist - and a VERY healthy 56 year-old who is willing to do whatever it takes to purchase organic produce and grass-finished beef and truly free range chicken for myself and my family. If you would care to take the time to learn about the real differences between the type of food that I purchase for myself and my family - and that I strongly recommend for my clients - you would find that the differences are substantial and that they contribute to real good health - unlike the pesticide-laden and antibiotic and steroid drugged “food” that is sold in the average supermarket. Because you are uneducated in the matter is no excuse to denounce the growing numbers in the population who have made the choice to eat healthier and promote better living conditions for our feed animals. Supporting local agriculture promotes true community. I am proud to help my neighbors, especially when they are trying to farm using techniques that preserve the environment and promote healthy livestock. I you want, I would be happy to take the time to educate you so that you are not part of the “dumb” community.”

“I’m surprised that the chair of the House Committee on Agriculture seems to know so little about the subject of organic food, as your comments about the “dumbness” of consumers willing to buy organic food indicate. Organic farming does not use chemicals and is safer. Organic food tastes better. Organic farming is sustainable farming, and is a small business, not a gigantic corporate farm where food is mass-produced, animals are abused and confined, and soil is depleted. Organic food tastes better! Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry. THE major challenge confronting us is energy--creating pollution, leading to global warming, and war. There is much more to be said for organic farming, but I strongly recommend you start learning about it for yourself.” St. Paul, MN

“With your comment regarding organic food, you appear to be uninformed and judgmental. Uninformed people should not chair committees.”

“Congressman Peterson, sorry to hear that you are a democrat and you are still that dumb that you don't understand why people are willing to pay more for local and organic food. For most people, this is an exercise of principle, we do not believe in society bearing the external costs of oil consumption or the burning of rainforest in Brazil in order to raise beef to send up to American consumers who want to save a buck by mortgaging our children's future. This country used to be about self reliance, and we used to be proud of being able to meet our own needs, and maybe have a little to share with our neighbors. Now we are all about consumerism at the lowest possible supermarket price. So a farm-bill-subsidized piece of beef that gets raised on a feed lot in California off of farm-bill-subsidized corn feed from Nebraska, and gets shipped back across the country to Minnesota ends up being 'cheaper' than a piece of beef that is grass fed right there in Minnesota. That is dumb. And our country is paying taxes to make it happen. And you are supposed to be representing us, and making sure that the government doesn't do dumb things like support that kind of stupidity with our tax money. I am ashamed to call myself a democrat with 'dumb' people like you speaking for our party, and I am ashamed to call myself an American with leadership like yours representing corporate interests that feed off of our tax dollars rather than grass roots family farmers that are trying to promote self sufficiency. Please apologize for your dumb remarks, we left that century behind.” Sacramento, CA

“Sir, As an organic consumer, I object to you calling me dumb (MSNBC.com, Financial Times, Oct 17, 2007). Recent studies show that conventionally grown produce is riddled with pesticides - chemicals that have detrimental effects to growing children. Other studies have shown that today's conventional produce contains almost 50% fewer nutrients than the same crops 50 years ago. Though not suffering as badly, even today's organic produce is less nutritious than that from 50 years ago. Organic and local produce has a strong impact on local economies and have demonstrated positive effects on land management and conservation. And yes, these products cost more - largely because of economy of scale. But I'd rather spend the money on good food than pump money into our decrepit health care system. I often wonder why large scale agriculture is getting huge subsidies if they are growing produce (and animals) that are less than what they were years ago. I often wonder why large scale agriculture is getting huge subsidies to trash our environment and decimate local economies. I often wonder what would happen if more people knew the truth about the growing conditions of the produce and the animals from large-scale agriculture. I hope you will retract your statement about organic consumers. We really are quite educated - we do get to meet our local farmers and ask questions about the growing conditions. I've even taken my toddler son to see the farm where we get our chickens and our lamb, and to the orchard where we get our apples and apple cider. If he can get the connection between the land and the food, why can't you?”
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