Archive for the ‘Organic’ Category

Why Organic and Local is Best

The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Specific requirements must be met and maintained in order for products to be labeled as “organic.”

Organic crops must be grown in safe soil, have no modifications and must remain separate from conventional products. Farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides bioengineered genes (GMO’s), petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic farmers rely on biological diversity in the field to naturally reduce habitat for pest organisms. Organic farmers also purposefully maintain and replenish the fertility of the soil.

These chemicals I listed in the previous paragraph are widely used in conventional (non-organic) agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food even after washing them.

Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal by-products. Not feeding animal by-products reduces the risk of mad cow disease. Organically raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, both of which help to keep animals happy and healthy. They are kept in living conditions that accommodate the natural behavior of the animals.

Non-organically raised animals live in very cruel and crowded conditions. The more crowded the more likely an animal is to get sick. Antibiotics, hormones and animal by-products are fed to these animals.

Organic farming practices reduce pollution (air, water, soil), conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility and use less energy.

Organic foods contain more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and taste than intensively farmed produce. One of the benefits of consuming only organic foods is allergy symptoms will lessen or go away. Most of us have an accumulated build-up of pesticide exposure in our bodies due to numerous years of exposure. This chemical “body burden,” as it is medically known that leads to health issues such as headaches, birth defects, added strain on weakened immune system and serious disease.

GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms)
GMO’s are plants or animals whose DNA has been altered. These products have undergone only short term testing to determine their effects on humans the environment. In most countries, organic products do not contain GMO’s. Genetically modified organisms are one of the most dangerous and radical changes to our food supply. These largely unregulated ingredients found in 60-70% of the foods in the US, are well worth the effort to avoid.

GMO’s threaten our entire food supply. Insects, birds, and wind can carry GMO seeds into neighboring fields and beyond. Pollen from transgenic plants can cross-pollinate with genetically natural crops and wild relatives. All crops, organic and non-organic are vulnerable to contamination from cross-pollination.

Genetic engineering can cause unexpected mutations in an organism, which can create new and higher levels of toxins in foods. GMO’s can also produce unforeseen and unknown allergens in foods. Transgenic foods may mislead consumers with counterfeit freshness. A luscious-looking, bright red genetically engineered tomato could be several weeks old and of little nutritional worth.

37 people died, 1500 were partially paralyzed and 5000 more were temporarily disabled by a syndrome that was finally linked to tryptophan made by genetically-engineered bacteria.

Gene pollution cannot be cleaned up. Once GMO’s, bacteria and viruses are released into the environment it is impossible to contain or recall them. Unlike chemical or nuclear contamination, negative effects are irreversible.

Genetic engineers intend to profit by patenting genetically engineered seeds. This means that when a farmer plants genetically engineered seeds, all the seeds have identical genetic structure. As a result, if a fungus, a virus or a pest develops which can attack this particular crop, there could be widespread crop failure.

This means that the food was grown close to home (your garden, local community, your state, your region or country). Buying locally at Farmers Markets supports and pays the farmer directly. This means the produce will be less expensive than if you were to buy it at a store. Stores have to raise prices to pay for things like marketing and distribution. Locally grown produce is the freshest food you can purchase. Fruits and vegetables are harvested when they are ripe. Non-locally grown produce is picked before ripening and then gassed so they ripen when they arrive at the store. This means the taste or nutritional value will not be as great. The average distance for non-locally grown food is over 1500 miles. This uses a lot of fossil fuels and emits carbon dioxide into the air. Non-local produce is highly processed in factories using preservatives, irradiation, and other means to keep it stable for transport and sale.

Small local farmers often use organic methods, but sometimes cannot afford to become certified organic. Visit a farmers market and talk with the farmers. Find out how they produce the fruits and veggies they sell. You can even ask for a farm tour.

– Shop at Farmers Markets.
– Join a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm, in which individuals and families join up to purchase “shares” of produce in bulk, directly from a local farm. Local and organic.
– Buy in season. Fruits and veggies are cheapest and freshest when in season.

In the long run, you’ll save money on an organic diet because you’ll have less visits to the doctor and you’ll have less chances of developing a disease.

Organic foods are not subsidized by the government. Processed foods are heavily subsidized so they can be manufactured and sold at well below cost to grow and process the raw materials involved. Chemicals are a lot cheaper than human labor costs.

The price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental cleanups that we pay for through our tax dollars.

The benefits and value of organic agriculture off-set the additional cost.

Since organic farmers do not receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers, the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing.

Organic is not just for food, but for everything grown. Any pesticide use contaminates our soils and water sources. Look into organic materials as well, such as cotton, bamboo and other products.

If you choose to consume meat, please watch the videos below to understand why organically grown livestock is best. Be warned, the second video is very graphic and sad to watch.