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When you go to the market, you may notice the difference between organic farming products and GMO foods. GMO food tends to be large, too bright in color and shiny. Organic food looks more realistic. When you compare the two, you might think that the former are better for you. But they are often full of chemicals that made them so colorful and big. Sometime you might not notice a difference at all, and wonder at the higher price tag.
What's the deal with organic farming produce and non-organic?
Organic food is grown with natural methods and products while GMO crops are often engineered with performance-enhancing chemicals. But, organic farming tends to be more labor-intensive. Farmers don’t use anything unnatural to make their produce grow faster and bigger. It’s often very hard when the bad weather strikes too.
However, they are dedicated to producing top quality products for the people.
If you are interested to find out more about these farmers and organic food in general, read on.
What is Organic Farming?
While no one gave a clear definition of what organic actually means, the universal principle is that organic farming is a production system that doesn’t use synthetic pesticides, livestock feed additives or fertilizers.
It’s a collection of processes and alternative methods that use knowledge and understanding of nature to produce food. For example, they use crop rotation, animal healthy soil, pest and weed control and many other methods. These farming methods are nothing new – they have been used for centuries.
The new farming – one including chemicals and pesticides – only came more recently.
Organic farming is also sustainable which means that it’s not harming the environment. There is no consensus on this either and it’s not a necessary component but most organic farmers care about the universal health of both the people and the planet.
What are the Health Benefits of Organic Farming?
Organic food has numerous health benefits for both humans and the environment. Here are some of them:
Doesn’t use any harmful materials to protect the plants.
Huge crop diversity in organic farming, meaning that organic farmers grow several different plants on one space.
Uses composting and manure to replenish the ground with nutrients. This improves the soil fertility – it’s one of the most effective methods for soil management.
Prevents pests in an eco-friendly way, with natural and often biological pesticides.
Improves your health, the health of the land and entire ecosystem.
Uses minimum amounts of nonrenewable sources and focuses on renewable energy sources.
It helps with the greenhouse effect.
Uses organic fertilizers that don’t pollute the water.
Organic farming recycles water, soil, waste, and so on. It also has healthy ways of utilizing natural pollination and helps habitats improve.
Organic food is healthier than non-organic food, thanks to allowing plants to grow naturally. The DNA of the crop isn't altered in any way. As a result, the seeds are simply planted, cared for, and harvested before ending up on your table.
Compared to GMO food, organic food contains no added chemicals. While GMO food may be designed to do seemingly impressive things, like better withstand bad weather, the long-term results are unknown. There simply hasn't been enough research on human consumption of food that's been been chemically altered. For example, splicing the DNA may have unforeseen negative consequences on our health.
The taste and quality of food is improved through organic farming.
How Organic Foods are Healthier for You
Right choices you can make in your life start with eating healthy food. GMO, non-organic and processed food can be harmful for your family. And while all of the products you see at the grocery store look great and are meant to feed you, not all of them are of the same nutritional value.
Among those products, it’s best to choose organic. Here are some reasons why:
Organic food means there is no GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms
Organic food contains no harmful chemicals and no genetic modification. Always look for products that are labeled as organic or non-GMO certified. Further, stay away from products that do not clearly state they are non-GMO. This will ensure you're eating food that hasn't had unrelated genes artificially forced in.
Organic farming doesn’t pollute the soil
Non-organic food is sprayed and fed with harmful chemicals that kill all of the pests as well as damage the crop itself. Any nutrients and organisms that make this plant so healthy and tasty are potentially killed with it. Those organisms are replaced with artificial chemicals and fertilizers that will enable the plant to grow and look good – but the inside might not be as nutritious as what you expected. Further, the produce may be sprayed with a preservative, to keep it looking pretty on the grocery shelf.
Bear in mind, you should still wash organic fruit and vegetables. They're still prone to field contaminants and treated with a natural pesticide.
Organic farming is preventing the pests from getting too strong
When you constantly spray harmful chemicals on the pests and the weeds, they eventually learn to overcome them. As a result, the pests can come back stronger because of it. If we continue to do this, both pests and weeds will become too strong and poisonous for us to fight or consume. Organic farming uses mild, natural ways to fight pests that will not make them grow faster.
Organic farming created room for pollination
Herbicides and other harmful chemicals often kill bees and butterflies. It’s not a smart technology so it kills any bug that comes in its way. But in order for plants to grow and flourish, we need bees and butterflies to pollinate our crops. This helps maintain the biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.
Organic farming creates a healthier community
Organic farming doesn’t deteriorate the community in which it resides. Non-organic farming, on the other hand, often does. Organic farming doesn’t emit toxins into the air, water or land which makes people in that vicinity.
Produces nutrient-rich food
Organic food is healthy as it comes from completely natural sources. The land where it grows is healthy and full of nutrients, it’s produced in natural conditions and there is no use of synthetic chemicals. Non-organic food grows under the effect of the fertilizer made from the same thing that’s used to run cars.
Organic farming doesn’t do mono cropping
When non-organic farming companies create a place where only one plant grows, they have to spray it with numerous harmful chemicals to prevent pests. However, organic farmers grow multiple crops in one place and don’t spray them with chemicals because the different bugs they attract actually help.
Organic food has a better taste
Food that has no chemicals and has grown in a natural way is a lot healthier and has a better taste than a plant that was loaded with chemicals.
Why are Organic Foods More Expensive?
Organic products cost more than non-organic products by 20% or more. This is why most people avoid it – they often can’t afford it.
But why is organic so much more expensive than all of the other food?
Here are the answers you’ve been looking for:
Using no chemicals on the plants means that farmers have to do a lot more work.
The demand is higher than the supply.
The cost of organic fertilizers is much higher than of the chemicals.
Crop rotations reduce the number of times farmers can grow plants in a year which increases the cost.
Handling the land after the harvest is expensive.
Gaining the organic certification is expensive.
There are often losses that are much harder to cover. For example, a bad crop or rough weather conditions.
Creating ethical living conditions for livestock costs more money than inhumanely cramming them together.
Organic food grows sometimes grows more slowly; GMO food may have added growth hormones.
Try to get the most of your food organic, when possible. If organic food seems out of budget, you don’t need to buy all of your food organic. Some products are more resilient and thus, farmers don’t use a high amount of chemicals. Here are some of those products that you really should buy organic for maximum nutrition:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
How You Can Help Support Organic Farming
There are many ways that you can support organic farmers and organic farming. Here are some simple, easy ways that you can help your local organic farmers:
Shop at your local farmer’s market.
Donate to organizations that work in favor of organic and younger farms just starting out.
Stay informed on systems and processes used in organic farming.
Support policies that support farmers.
Volunteer at your local organic farm.
Visit a working farm.
Share this knowledge with friends.
Try joining a co-op.
Go to local organic farms to buy the best food.
Share about the importance of organics on social media.
Which Foods Should You Always Buy Organic?
Supporting the environment and being healthy means that we should strive to support organic farming and food. However, it’s not always easy. Sometimes organic food is just too expensive for our budget. Sometimes it’s not available.
There is also some evidence that regular and organic food aren’t that different in nutritional value – at least when it comes to some products, like the ones mentioned in this article.
And if you can’t afford a kitchen-full of organics, strive at least to always buy the following items organic. They are often called the “dirty dozen” because they are the ones with highest concentration of chemicals when produced non-organic.
Here is the list:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
Also avoid any leafy greens that are not organic.
Buying organic food may not be seem always easy. Take advantage of affordable farmer's markets nearby or check out local coupons so you can provide healthy, organic products for your family. Support your local farmers and your environment. Above all, make sure that you are making the best choices for your well-being.
Are you already an avid organic shopper? Feel free to sound off in the comments down below!