WHY ORGANIC? Organic is indisputably better for the environment but usually costs 10 to 20% more than conventionally grown crops, why the hell should I pay that!?

Conventional grown crops prices take no account of the environmental costs they cause, which are massive, from killing off not just the many pest and weed species but also many beneficial insects such as pollinators like bees, hoverflies and butterflies and many harmless wildflowers. You will pay more for artificial pollination and loose on environmental quality. Organic crops cause none of the above.
If conventional crop producers had to pay for the environmental damage they did, organic crops would then be far cheaper than them, but our twisted economics mean environmental damage is not factored into any food production and virtually no other industry either (think energy production for instance or petro-chemical plastics over hemp plastics).
Conventional grown crops prices take no account of the damage they do to watercourses, through pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer run off. These petro-chemical man-made products deplete insect and plant life massively in any watercourse they encounter, as nearly all modern pesticides and herbicides are systemic (systemic means if the chemical reaches any part of a plant or animal it will reach all parts of that plant or animal with far more likely effect of killing it than otherwise). The fertilizers cause algae to bloom and they take all the oxygen from the water preventing any other lifeforms living there (eutrophication). This has a massive negative effect on wildlife. You may pay subscriptions to wildlife NGOs and manage your garden for wildlife, but you would have a far greater influence if you instead just bought organic food. The amount of land contaminated by agro-chemicals to produce enough food for your family is hundreds of times greater than you could offset by having an organic garden and paying a few subscriptions could do alone.
Conventionally reared livestock are not kept in anything like natural conditions, often they are in cages they can barely turn around in and cannot see natural daylight or interact in a normal social manner. They are fed antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified feeds (soya and maize/corn) which are passed on to you the consumer. All effects of these systemic chemicals are passed on to you and your children and in humans causes countless allergies, dietary sensitivity (e.g. gluten, lactose, fructose) and ailments such as abnormal growth defects, cancers, immune deficiency, leaky and irritable gut and colon diseases. Doctors are not allowed to say what the causes are due to being funded by the same agro-chemical/pharmaceutical industry (just look however at correlations to increases in these ailments to increases in agro-chemical usage). If doctors say anything or stop recommending their drugs it means funding to their trust/clinic stops!
So a little more cost has benefits, if you are limited in funds it is far more environmentally effective to stop funding NGOs and just buy as much organic food as possible. If you have enough money to do both then fine. But buying organic is by far the best way to save wildlife.

But of course you say organic tastes no better than conventional. Well sometimes it is difficult to tell, but the good feeling factor should always mean it tastes better. If you want a test try organic chicken or any other fowl, if you do not agree 100% that it is better than conventional then you seriously need to see a doctor about lack of taste buds. Really, with any organic food it will be as good tasting as the best conventionally grown food ever can, though it may not taste any better than the best conventional and only cost slightly more, at least it will not have cost the earth. Organic is by nature always top quality because any person who chooses to farm organically by default cares greatly about their product. This as with any top quality product is why you pay a premium, the other reasons are that you care for the environment and you care about the legacy you leave to future generations, none of which are even taken into consideration with conventional intensive factory farming methods.

Remember, possibly better taste is not the only reason to support organic, it is the best way also to support the environment, since 70% of many countries landmasses are under one form of farming or another.

BIRDSEED

Am I the only person who thinks growing crops on an intensive industrial scale to feed to birds is an oxymoron? If we didn’t intensive industrial crop that land in the first place we could have made at least some of it into a nature reserve. We would then not use as many pesticides which kill insects birds eat, or herbicides that kill wild flowers and would not use fertilizers that pollute water courses. The birdseed is often produced from waste or spilt seed from the factory, I know, so it would not be human food grade. However it could still be fed to livestock and thus lower our dependence on imported genetically modified corn and soy (GM corn and soy are the main feeds for intensively reared livestock and meat and dairy fed on this does not have to be labelled in the UK or EU, despite vegetable foods for human use having to be labelled by law in EU).
People in their gardens should make their gardens more wildlife friendly overall and provide food source plants in their own gardens. If people used less chemicals in their gardens there would be more insects and if they use at least some manure or organic matter there would be more worms and soil invertebrates for the birds. A natively stocked pond is probably one of the best wildlife features a garden can have and being away from farm runoff can be good for frogs and dragonflies.

Author: BSG

www.birdingsiteguide.com