You walk into a grocery store and see a box of strawberries labeled “ORGANIC.” You then see another box of strawberries next to it without the label. The strawberries in both boxes are almost indistinguishable, and the information on the nutritional label is nearly the same. Which should you choose?
The benefits of organic foods
What is organic food? The word “organic” refers to the production of food without the use of artificial agents, including chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farming is a production method that emphasizes the use of renewable resources and is designed to encourage the conservation of water and soil and to reduce pollution. Unlike farmers who use conventional methods to harvest their crops, organic farmers do not utilize chemical weed killers to fertilize, control weeds, or prevent livestock disease. This is a major downfall of conventional farming, for the use of spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease is highly inefficient—over time, pests that are resistant to these chemicals reproduce, creating more pests that are able to survive under these conditions and therefore destroying more crops.
So which farming methods do organic farmers use? Some methods include conducting more sophisticated crop rotations and spreading natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants and to inhibit the growth of weeds. Another “organic” process is the utilization of certain insects and birds to reduce the occurrence of pests and disease among crops. As surprising as this may sound, disease can also be minimized by simple preventive measures, including rotational grazing among animals. A balanced diet among animals is another measure taken by organic farmers, and most are given organic feed.
Organic production also reduces health risks by preventing many pesticides correlated with cancer and other diseases from leaching into the air, earth, and water sources. This is only one of the few ways that organic farming is advantageous to maintaining the sustainability of our environment—by eliminating nitrogen leaching, which is caused by several conventional farming processes, organic production also protects and conserves the earth’s water resources. As mentioned earlier, organic farming emphasizes the conservation of soil as well, which must be kept healthy, as soil is the foundation of the food chain. This is made possible due to the lack of harmful chemicals associated with organic agriculture.
Go green today!
Along with many other avid eco-enthusiasts, I strongly encourage others to “go organic”—in other words, I am a true supporter of eating organic foods. By choosing organic, you are supporting farmers and producers who believe in good health and earth-friendly sustainable agricultural practices—this benefits everyone, including yourself, the farm workers, the planet, and even future generations.