Thursday, March 4, 2010

When is organic food truly organic? (2)

Why an organic crop could still be wrongly defined
even it doesn't get in touch with a single molecule of
harmful chemical, pollutant or contaminant?

This is because:

1. the four criteria mentioned previously
    could be technically 'plagiarised',
    e.g. fertilising crops with high-Nitrogen biomass-derived
          (ie non-synthetic) fertilizer
          that boosts the growth and green-ness of a crop,
          will result in risky level of residual
          nitrites in the plant, causing harm to consumers.

2. the fulfilment of the four criteria doesn't necessarily
    adheres to the core principle of organic agriculture
    e.g. traditionally crossing related species of crops to derive a super variety,
           eventually resulting in wiping off its wild type relatives in nature.
          [this effect can be as bad as growing a GMO, environmental-wise; but
           the crop is still defined as organic, since it fulfills all 4 criteria]

The four certification criteria emphsize on
only the measureable aspects of organic agricultural practice.

The 4 basic criteria hence have to be supplemented with
a 5th criterion which is
natural farming.
This is when 'organic' is getting difficult to measure or it's almost inmeasurable.

Natural farming means going by the flow of nature.
As mentioned, it's not quite measureable,
so it's not possible to list out all the parameters.

But there are a few examples here to illustrate:
E.g.1  to grow crops which are local
E.g.2  to grow crops according to season
E.g.3. to refrain from human manipulation (like cross-breeding, air-conditioning & sheltering)

~ growing crops on a non-indigeneous land or in the wrong season,
will compromise the survival/competence/health of a crop.
This in turn "justifies" for heavy fertilisation (even tho' non-synthetic)
and eventually leads to possible 'poisoning' of crop and low nutrient content.

That's why it's not surprising to see no difference in nutrients level between
both chemical-free organic Choy Sum
and non-organic Choy Sum grown in tropical Singapore
(which is not native to Choy Sum of temperate origin).

--  This is when parties with 'vested interest' invest in research studies
and claim that it's not worthwhile growing organic crops
since there is no added value in nutrition.

As one may observe by now,
Criteria 1-4 are actually the measureable subset of Criteria 5,
to facilitate certification and easy referencing.

To grow a crop organically
is to grow a crop in a manner abiding to natural laws,
so that the crop is full of life-force.
(note: the word 'organic' means pertaining to life)

So, if a crop is grown naturally and is full of life-force,
can it be fully-defined as an organic crop?

May or may not be.

Explanation to come..

Well wishes,
Kee Yew


{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}


  1. Read about your organic living meet-up group :D Great! I put the info in my blog.

    Lately, have been visiting some eco-friendly organic eateries - there are so much beauty in them which not been make known to the world.

    Have been posting reviews of them in HGW to share it as a different type of cuisine.

    BTW, I submitted YES Natural Cozy Corner to HappyCow already. I think there is a need for more innovative and creative organic food on the menu.

    I'm reading about eco-friendly restaurant in Europe, USA in the book ecochic. All of them have a good food concept and seems to be doing well.

    Like in Manchester there are a large number of organic, sustainable eateries, which range from hippy cafes to suburban delis and high-end eateries.

    There is even an award-winning restaurant run by a meat-loving chef - GREENS in Manchester England. (

    Too busy to go to each of these mentioned restaurants to see what make them successful.

    Would your group or anyone who join your meet-up consider doing review and share with more people be it in blog or HWG or religious magazine/website or ... the more people talk/discuss about it, the more activities it is, more understanding and more awareness, more buzz ... ;)

  2. Hi hi Crystal,

    UK/EU and USA are definitely ahead of us in term of eco-friendly agriculture and food outlets.

    I heard there was this raw organic restaurant in NY, that many celebrities go. Ppl who want to dine there may need to make booking 1 yr in advance!!! Know what? it's not like the restaurant is cheap.. in fact the price is exorbitant!

    I have been thinking what's the X-factor for the success of the raw organic restaurant too.
    -- Singaporeans complain even an organic brown rice set cost SGD5/=... :P

    Creative menu wise, I think, Singapore has a lot to catch up indeed... but before this there has to be enough demand from the public first..

    I will propose to my Organic Living meetup group
    about writing the organic outlets review.. I think it's a cool idea =D

  3. I think reviews are absolutely necessary. :-)
    That's one of the functions our meetup group can and should certainly serve, isn't it?

  4. HWG got high readership, over a short period of 18 days, my profile view hit 10,500+, a good place to share good eat and info, there are also non-veg eating veg food and reviewing it.

    People need encouragement to try veg*n food! One big group of people are Buddhist non-vegetarian who might reject 'vegetarianism' but not veg*n food as long as it is delicious. And Buddhist non-veg are supportive and receptive, they don't have to be totally veg*n but eat less meat is still acceptable to most.

    If they are in the Food industry, maybe those veg-friendly option stuff are created by them, who knows : )

    Your meet-up is a good start to open up the door of Veg*n Organic Food to other, giving the chance to test out.

    But, Organic Eateries need to be creative, able to spot what is missing in the current food scene that they can grab it and make it organic, and have a good and fun dinning concept that allow people to return and also to talk about it with other and also to share with people ...

    Cheers :D

  5. Wow!! Then must advertise Organic Living on HGW ler!!!

    Agree.. actually, tho' not many veg*ns out there, many are very pro-veg nowadays...
    I have got another ex-colleague came and look for me recently, to ask for advice how to go veg. She was traumatised by her beloved granny afflicted by 4th stage colon cancer...

    She told me she is not intending to go totally veg.. but will lead plant-based diet add on with a bit of meat, when boh-bien...
    I was glad that she took the positive message from her granny's incident.

    So, the next step to encourage these pro-veg ppl to continue to take veg is TASTE, like u said.

    Now, Organic Living Meet Up group has very big task.. that is to review and feedback to organic outlets, so that they constantly improve their food :D

  6. GREAT to hear this, you did a wonderful job. :D

    Yup, 80%-90% plant-based diet is very very very good already. Anything above 50% plant-based to me is very good already, it gives those a chance to accept veg*n food and much easier for them to switch. And organic eateries need them to carry on.

    100% to some is something unachievable, so lower the standard. Who knows after few months or years, they can go 100%.

    Create an log-in in HGW, think about exciting thing to say or website/facebook link to put on the login profile.

    Photo is important, even good and short reviews without photo is most likely ignore. Visual is important, if you look at HWG closely, photo has many plus points.

    Then, if reader likes the reviews, they might go to the place. Or they might join the meet-up for makan session and become makan kaki (as long as it does not sound advocating or changing their lifestyle completely or turn them into veg*n, most likely people will go if the activities is fun, interesting or for a different experience) ...

    And it also to tell the World, Veg*n are fun, hip and trendy foodies too and know about Food/Culture/Food History ... So, think about it, there are many advantages ...

    If I have the time, I start to gather info too, hopefully via you to feedback to those eateries (if lah), so they have more area to think about and maybe come up with totally new and interesting stuff.

    Task is to keep the topic active, it can serves as "reminder " to those forgotten ... I can't be reviewing the same eatery for too many times, so it need different people, different views to bring up the topic.

    Not too sure can join on the 20 Mar to Vegsenz, can't commit yet. SMS me the time and date, if possible.

    Cheers :D

  7. Thanks for the tips!!

    Yes, will take beautiful photos :D

    Action will begins 20 March! Tatadada!!


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