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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 057. | December 07, 2023
057: Myths and Lies of Organic Farming with Dave Chapman
057: Myths and Lies of Organic Farming with Dave Chapman

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In the picturesque expanse of Vermont, surrounded by rolling hills and pristine landscapes, Dave Chapman, the visionary founder of Long Wind Organic Farms, opens the gates to his journey into the realm of organic farming.

In this special episode of the Health Science Podcast, hosted by Dr. Frank Sabatino, Dave shares the roots of Long Wind Farms, delves into the challenges of the organic food industry, and emphasizes the profound impact of soil health on our collective well-being.

Growing Tomatoes and Grafting Innovation

Long Wind Farms, having taken root in the early ’80s, initially embraced a mixed vegetable approach before finding its niche in the cultivation of tomatoes. Dave shares the evolution of the farm’s focus, emphasizing the unique grafting technique employed to create robust and resilient tomato specimens. It becomes evident that there is a very intricate dance between innovation and tradition on this organic haven.

Tracing Organic Farming Origins

The dialogue shifts to the historical roots of organic farming, with Dave illuminating the contributions of pioneers like Albert Howard and Rachel Carson. These luminaries laid the foundation for what we now recognize as organic agriculture. The conversation explores the political and cultural dynamics that fueled the growth of the organic movement, especially in the aftermath of significant events like the Vietnam War.

Soil Health and Biodiversity

The heart of organic farming beats in harmony with soil biodiversity, and Dave passionately advocates for the profound connection between healthy soil and nutrient-dense food. Scientific experiments, including those conducted by Chris Nichols at the Rodale Institute, are highlighted to underscore the pivotal role soil health plays in determining the genuine nutrient density of crops.

Certification Challenges and the Battle Against Industrial Agriculture

The conversation takes a somber turn as Chapman addresses the challenges faced by organic farming, particularly the intrusion of hydroponic tomatoes into the organic market. This departure from the consensus that hydroponics should not qualify as organic raises concerns.

The discussion expands to encompass the broader impact of industrial agriculture on food quality and emphasizes the need for consumers to comprehend the intricacies of how their food is grown.

Real Organic Project

Amidst challenges, Dave introduces the Real Organic Project—a grassroots movement aiming to redefine and safeguard the integrity of organic farming. The project stands as a beacon for consumers, providing clear information about the authenticity of organic produce.

Consumer Awareness and Taking Action

Dr. Sabatino and Chapman emphasize the urgency for consumer awareness and empowerment. They discuss the implications of misleading organic labels and the pivotal role consumers play in demanding transparency from both government bodies and stores. The conversation draws parallels with historical grassroots movements that compelled change in industries, echoing the sentiment that collective efforts can challenge the status quo.

The Call to Action

Dave Chapman encourages listeners to explore the Real Organic Project’s website for in-depth resources, podcasts, and information about certified organic farms. The discussion leaves listeners with a sense of agency, emphasizing that collective efforts can challenge the status quo and bring about positive change in the organic farming landscape.

Episode Highlights

[01:30]             It all started with a team of oxen and a cloud of dust.

[04:00]             From generalists to tomato specialists.

[06:00]             The Black-Box of organic farming.

[09:15]             The making of compost.

[16:00]             Farming and biodiversity

[21:00]             If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.

[25:00]             Defining organic and the lies we’ve been told.  

[32:00]             Who really has control in the organic market?

[38:30]             The crime of double dipping into the consumer’s pocket.

About Dave Chapman

Dave Chapman is a lifelong organic farmer, running Long Wind Farm in Vermont. He grows the best tasting organic tomatoes in the country in the fertile soil underneath a glass greenhouse. He is Co-Director and Board Chair of the Real Organic Project. The Real Organic Project is dedicated to bringing together the organic community.

 His Real Organic Podcast has provided a platform for many organic pioneers as well as eaters, scientists, authors, activists, and chefs.

Dave was a co-founder of Vermont Organic Farmers and was among those initially certified by the USDA’s National Organic Program. He serves on the Policy Committee of the Organic Farmers Association. He has worked for years as an advocate for reform of the NOP.

About Dr. Frank Sabatino

As a recognized authority on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, Dr. Frank Sabatino has cared for and inspired thousands of people for over 40 years. Dr. Sabatino has a PhD in cell biology and neuroendocrinology and has done extensive landmark research on calorie restriction, stress, and aging. He currently is on staff at the TrueNorth Health Foundation in Santa Rosa, CA, and serves as the Director of Health Education at the NHA.

Dr. Sabatino’s passion and life’s work include raising awareness about the benefits of whole-food, plant-exclusive nutrition (without added salt, oil, or sugar), health rejuvenation and stress management.

About NHA

The National Health Association (NHA), founded in 1948, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Association provides educational materials, educational events, and services to thousands of people around the world.

The mission of the National Health Association is to educate and empower individuals to understand that health results from healthful living. The NHA recognizes the integration of all aspects of health: personal, environmental, and social.

The NHA also provides travel experiences around the globe through the NHA Plant-Based Travel and cruise division.

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A unique benefit of the NHA Conference is the selection of two medical students who receive a full scholarship to the conference.

Contact Wanda Huberman for more information on how to apply for the scholarship.  [email protected]

NHA membership

For a very nominal investment, you can enjoy incredible benefits of the NHA membership.

Members of the NHA enjoy a subscription to the award-winning quarterly health journal, Health Science, access to the “Members Only” section of the NHA Website (which contains all 43 years of back issues of the magazine),  the ability to download for free many classic out of print eBooks on the history of the Natural Hygiene Movement, including Fasting Can Save Your Life and The Greatest Health Discovery, discounts on books, and early notice of the NHA events.

Only $35 a year for basic membership within the United States.

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