Data Shows Even Organic Production Uses Resources
By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor
Is growing strawberries organically sustainable? That’s something that Surendra Dara is trying to find out. Dara is a UC Cooperative Extension Advisor in Entomology and Biologicals. He is based in San Luis Obispo County as well as Santa Barbara County. Dara met with California Ag Today recently and let us in on his research and some of his findings.
“I have not come across a mainstream grower that has told me that organic is sustainable,” Dara said.
After pulling in data and understanding the inputs, Dara is asking if there is anybody out there that has a different opinion.
“When we are talking about sustainability, we are looking only in terms of non-chemical being the sustainable, ecological practice,” he said.
There are such things as organic pesticides that harm natural enemies.
“Some of the organic ones can be as bad as some of the chemicals,” Dara said.
Data is showing that growing strawberries organically has not been sustainable economically. In terms of the carbon footprint and the bigger picture, “even organic production is not sustainable with the resources because certainly some resources are being used up,” Dara said.