Scientists from Washington State University have completed one of the most comprehensive comparisons of conventional and organic farming methods and, at least in the case of strawberries. The study involving 13 conventional and 13 organic farms in California reveals that organic farming results in better tasting more nutritious fruit, and leaves the soil healthier than conventional methods. Science Daily sums up the results;
Among their findings:
- The organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds.
- The organic strawberries had longer shelf life.
- The organic strawberries had more dry matter, or, "more strawberry in the strawberry."
- Anonymous testers, working at times under red light so the fruit color would not bias them, found one variety of organic strawberries was sweeter, had better flavor, and once a white light was turned on, appearance. The testers judged the other two varieties to be similar.
The researchers also found the organic soils excelled in a variety of key chemical and biological properties, including carbon sequestration, nitrogen, microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and micronutrients.
DNA analysis found the organically managed soils had dramatically more total and unique genes and greater genetic diversity, important measures of the soil's resilience to stress and ability to carry out essential processes.
Now we need an economist to do a follow up study on the economics of these farms, comparing the financial health of organic farming vs. conventional.