Are “Sustainable” and “Organic” Synonymous?


This is a great blog from my colleague Dr. Eric Stafne. I am often asked about the difference between “sustainable” and “organic.” What are your thoughts?

Mississippi Fruit and Nut Blog

I was recently at a meeting where the terms “sustainable” and “organic” were used interchangeably.  I found this interesting.  Are they really synonymous?  First we should define these terms.  According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, sustainable means:

1. capable of being sustained
2 a : of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged 
b : of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods

As for organic, we need to target the definition to deal with food only (as there are other definitions not pertinent to our discussion here):

1. Of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides

So, could an organic food system be sustainable?…

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