People have become more concerned about the food they eat and how it impacts their overall health. The result of that is the increase in demand for organically grown foods. It wasn’t too long ago that you would only find organically grown food in a health food store and it was fairly expensive to buy. Things have gotten a little easier with stores like Whole Foods and even the regular supermarket carries a large selection of organic foods.
What exactly is “organic?”
The term “organic” describes food that have been raised or grown according to strict regulations that have been outlined by the USDA. The food must be grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. There are no genetically modified seeds and food must be grown using farming techniques that have been certified organic. In the case of livestock there can be no use of hormones or antibiotics.
What are the benefits of organic foods?
Health Benefits – Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides along with various fertilizers are all known carcinogens. In the case of fruits and vegetables, the chemicals are applied liberally to the crops and can leave behind a residue that you end up ingesting. Washing your food does not remove all of the chemicals left behind. Organic, on the other hand doesn’t use any of these chemicals. There is no run off leaching into the water tables and farm workers aren’t continually exposed to harmful chemicals. When it comes to livestock, they aren’t raised in a cage but are allowed to graze freely in fields. They aren’t being fed a diet filled with antibiotics, steroids or artificial hormones.
Taste – Fruit and vegetables that are grown organically are more flavorful, because they are grown in richer soils. Most of the time your organic produce is grown nearby and spends less time being transported to you. You will also notice imperfections or smaller pieces of fruit, since this is the way they are supposed to look.
Regulation – Organic meat and produce is very heavily regulated. A farmer must demonstrate that they are adhering to the guidelines set out by the USDA and the farms are inspected regularly. You can be comfortable buying food that has been labeled “Certified Organic”. Here is a video explaining some of the regulations.
Saving the Environment – Industrial farming methods have been taking their toll on the environment for years now. Commercial farming has been responsible for soil erosion and the toxic run off from the fertilizers and pesticides have harmed our water systems all over the country. Organic farming uses different methods such as crop rotation and compost, there are no chemicals used and therefore nothing to get into the water tables.
Yes, buying organic as often as you can will probably cost you a bit more at the grocery store, but the health benefits far outweigh the costs. Not only are you making sure that your family stays healthier but you’re keeping the environment healthier too.