There continues to be proponents for not buying organic appearing on television and writing online in support of not labeling genetically modified food and not eating organic. However as time progresses and more studies are done, the amount of toxicity in our food supply rises and society as a whole realizes that consuming toxic chemicals with our food and beverages is not healthy, it becomes clearer that going completely organic is the healthiest choice for both humans and pets.
Some people cite organic food as being healthier, while others say there is no increase in the nutritional value… well, that is not my priority as I don’t believe the purpose of organic farming is meant to increase the amount of vitamins. I don’t eat organic apples because I think they have more vitamin C than non-organic apples, I eat organic apples because a recent test discovered that non-organic apples have at least 48 different types of pesticides on them. Oh! And the taste, it’s a given right – that organic food tastes better, especially eggs and meat (for you carnivores out there).
I’ve compiled the main reasons I’ve tried to consume one hundred percent organic food and beverage (It’s not always possible) and utilize organic bath, body and household cleaning products for the last five years. The first two reasons specifically relate to the health of myself and family.
Avoiding chemicals – Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food. More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America, to the tune of billions of pounds annually. The average application equates to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person every year. Many of these chemicals were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before extensive diet testing.
The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed “safe.” Further, the FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticide residue. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely if ever employed by the FDA.
Avoiding GMO – Genetically engineered (GE) food and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are contaminating our food supply at an alarming rate, with repercussions beyond understanding. GMO foods do not have to be labeled in America. Because organically grown food cannot be genetically modified in any way, choosing organic is the only way to be sure that foods that have been genetically engineered stay out of your diet. (Here’s what you need to know about GMO foods.)
The next five reasons have farther reaching implications and deal with providing a better future for our children and the coming generations, as well as… well, you know… saving the planet. I used to think that such talk was pretentious and the business of trust-fund babies and naive college students, but once you do the research, you realize that the current cutting-cost practices that have allowed toxic chemicals and GMO produce and meat into our food supply are the same cutting-corner practices that will destroy our ability to produce healthy, non-polluted food for centuries to come.
If you’ve seen the movie Interstellar where humans are on the verge of dying out because they can’t grow anymore crops, that could also be a possible future for mankind generations down the road if we don’t behave responsibly with our eco-systems.
Preserving our ecosystems – Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, and chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem. Wildlife, insects, frogs, birds, and soil organisms are able to play their roles in the tapestry of ecology, and we are able to play ours, without interference or compromise.
Reduce pollution and protect water and soil -Agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers are contaminating our environment, poisoning our precious water supplies, and destroying the value of fertile farmland. Certified organic standards do not permit the use of toxic chemicals in farming and require responsible management of healthy soil and biodiversity.
According to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel, it is estimated that only 0.1% of applied pesticides reach the target pests. The bulk of pesticides (99.%) is left to impact the environment.
Preserve agricultural diversity -The rampant loss of species occurring today is a major environmental concern. It is estimated that 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost in the last century. Leaning heavily on one or two varieties of a given food is a formula for devastation. For instance, consider that only a handful of varieties of potatoes dominate the current marketplace, whereas thousands of varieties were once available.
If you recall Ireland’s infamous potato famine where a blight knocked out the whole crop, which consisted of just a few varieties, and millions of people died of starvation. Today, most industrial farms also grow just one crop rather than an array of crops on one piece of land. Ignorance is bliss? Or amnesia is disastrous? Crop rotation is a simple and effective technique used in organic agriculture to reduce the need for pesticides and improve soil fertility.
Most conventional food is also extremely hybridized to produce large, attractive specimens, rather than a variety of indigenous strains that are tolerant to regional conditions such as droughts and pests. Many organic farms grow an assorted range of food, taking natural elements and time-tested tradition into account. Diversity is critical to survival.
Support farming directly – Buying organic food is an investment in a cost-effective future. Commercial and conventional farming is heavily subsidized with tax dollars in America. A study at Cornell University determined the cost of a head of commercial iceberg lettuce, typically purchased at 49 cents a head, to be more than $3.00 a head when hidden costs were revealed. The study factored in the hidden costs of federal subsidies, pesticide regulation and testing, and hazardous waste and cleanup.
Every year, American tax dollars subsidize billions of dollars for a farm bill that heavily favors commercial agribusiness. Peeling back another layer of the modern farming onion reveals a price tag that cannot be accurately measured but certainly includes other detrimental associated costs such as health problems, environmental damage, and the loss and extinction of wildlife and ecology.
Keep our children and future safe – Putting our money where our mouths are is a powerful position to take in the $1 trillion food industry market in America. Spending dollars in the organic sector is a direct vote for a sustainable future for the many generations to come.
As a mother of three children, I am very concerned about the world-at-large we are leaving them. Isn’t it good to know that by purchasing organic, not only are you immediately benefitting your children, but you are also supporting organic farmers who are in turn being responsible caretakers of the soil and lessening the impact of pollution on our water, dirt and air.