Most of these posts I go on and on about “organic this” and “organic that”. But why? What is organic farming, and why should people care to learn about it? My primary goal is always to educate all y’all, so hear me out with the explanation – then decide for yourself.
Why should I choose to eat organic foods?
I’ll break it down for you with 4 main reasons.
1. Better Nutritional Quality
Organic farming prohibits the use of “mono-cropping”, GMO seeds, and synthetic herbicide/pesticide/fungicide use. Mono cropping refers to the re-harvesting of one particular crop over and over again. This depletes the soil of vital nutrients because the same crop is pulling the same nutrients out of the soil over and over again. Promoting biological diversity is one of the mandates of organic farming. Prohibiting the use of synthetic chemicals is important because it allows the plant to thrive on its own and depend on the life of the soil to grow, not on sprays that make the plant only look like its thriving. All of these qualities work together to create a more nutritionally vibrant plant. Soil is alive and dimensional, depending on a delicate combination of bacteria, fungi and earthworms (!) to deliver nutrients. More natural soil = a better quality plant, full of all the vitamins and nutrients nature intended it to have ❤
2. Supporting Farmers
Organic farming is serious hard work! Farmers have to show they have been following organic practices for at least 3 years before any certifying body will even consider them for approval (i.e. they will receive their organic seal). They then get re-tested annually (with random drop-in visits) to make sure they are following proper practices. Farmers take their job seriously, and so should we. Organic farming follows practices of treating the earth and plants with respect. One of their mandates is to “protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health”. If that doesn’t sound like something I want to contribute to, I don’t know what does.
3. Promote Animal Welfare
Organic farming prohibits the use of synthetic chemicals being used on crops. But what about hormones and antibiotics for animals? In conventional farming, animals can be fed antibiotics and growth hormones to promote a fast growing, higher-yielding meat. Growth hormones are allowed to be used in Canada for male beef cattle. Fortunately, organic farming works to maintain the health and welfare of all animals. For meat to be labelled “organic” it needs to have been consuming only organic feed and it has to be treated humanely (i.e. absolutely NO antibiotic or growth hormones). Organic farms are usually smaller than “factory farms” which often house and slaughter hundreds of animals at a time.
4. Spend your Money Wisely
It’s true that organic foods do seem to cost more. The phrase “good food ain’t cheap, and cheap food ain’t good” might be motivation enough to convince you. Spending your money wisely means consciously contributing to vibrant foods that will actually nourish you. However, I understand that promoting organic is easier said than done. And let’s face it, I only have myself to support, while some of you reading may have families and others to take care of (= $$$). What’s your best option to divvy up your hard earned dollars? Adopt the “Clean Fifteen/Dirty Dozen” rule, a list put out yearly by the Environmental Working Group. It summarizes the top 12 heaviest sprayed crops (always buy these organic) and the top 15 least sprayed crops (don’t worry too much about these). Make a difference without busting the bank by always buying the organic versions of items on the “dirty dozen” list. You’ll be cleaning up your diet and supporting farmers at the same time :).
Want more juicy info? Check out the COG website (Canadian Organic Growers) or the USDA Organic website (US department of agriculture) for a complete list of Organic farming practices, guidelines and benefits.