Members of The Organic Center's Board of Trustees gathered at Harvard University for their annual retreat and for scientific briefings on collaborative research on organic's impact on the health of humans and the environment. Their report supports the benefits of organic food and farming and reflects organic's potential to solve a host of real-world concerns, according to The Organic Center (Washington D.C.).
The meeting included Harvard professor Dr. Chensheng Lu, who is collaborating with The Organic Center to examine the health effects of pesticide exposure and the benefits of sticking to an organic diet, and Drs. Geoff Davies and Elham Ghabbour at Northeastern, to study the impacts of organic management on soil.
Dr. Jessica Shade, director of science programs, said board members wholeheartedly encourage research filling the gaps in our knowledge about organic, such as that being conducted by these high-caliber researchers on these complex topics. "The preliminary findings of this important research support the benefits of organic food and farming for the health of humans and the environment," said Shade.
Lu spoke about his work studying the adverse health effects associated with pesticide exposure in a meta-analysis, and the health benefits of consuming organic foods in a pilot study. "Exposure to pesticides can affect human health in ways that we don't fully understand yet," said Lu. "Eating organic is one way to help reduce risks associated with environmentally induced diseases."
The Organic Center Board also visited Drs. Davies and Ghabbour, who lead the National Soil Project at Northeastern University. Their National Soil Project, in collaboration with the Organic Center, examines differences in soil health between organic and conventional soil. According to The Organic Center, sequestered carbon content of a soil is a key component of the organic matter of a soil, which helps the soil retain water, acts as buffers, improves soil texture, helps regulate the climate and supports many other healthy soil functions. Massive quantities of synthetic fertilizers used in conventional farming however, destroy organic matter and can jeopardize the long-term health of the soil.
"We have preliminary evidence suggesting that organic soil has more sequestered carbon than conventional soil," said Ghabbour. "Synthetic fertilizer can strip the soil of organic matter, so organic farming should result in healthier soil."
Shade said that the preliminary results of the soil study suggest that organic farming may play an important role in mitigating climate change because organic soils contain higher levels of sequestered carbon.
For more information, vist www.organic-center.org.