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Old 09-11-2019, 08:26 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1,273
Originally Posted by kirkrapine View Post
I am a bit miffed at you lot for fuzzying public perception of the term "organic." Strictly speaking, as chemists use the term, any compound containing carbon is organic. Coal is organic. We really need another term for "food grown without artificial pesticides."
What's that thing I just used to click on the multiquote link? Can't be a mouse. Mice are furry rodents.

There are a huge number of words in English with multiple meanings. Lots of people seem to think it makes some sort of point to pick on this one. It doesn't.

Originally Posted by squidfood View Post
Strictly speaking, the term in the 18th century meant "made by/from organs" (e.g. made by plants and animals), and then was co-opted by chemists in the 19th century to include anything containing carbon (even if the substance in question was utterly toxic to natural organs). When speaking generally (outside of chemistry), returning to the original usage makes sense.
It's originally a reference to considering the farm as a whole as a living organism, which is -- in another sense of the word organic -- an organic part of a whole ecological system. (See sense 4, here:
forming an integral element of a whole : b : having systematic coordination of parts : organized an organic whole c : having the characteristics of an organism : developing in the manner of a living plant or animal )
It's also a reference to the organic matter in the soil.

And, yes, it fits with "made by plants and animals."

ETA: There's a very great deal more to organic farming than just "grown without artificial pesticides."

Last edited by thorny locust; 09-11-2019 at 08:28 PM.