For years many naysayers have dismissed organic food as a trendy fad to boost supermarket sales, all the while not considering that organic food was absolutely the norm for everyone up until the 1950s. It was only after this time that food began hitting our shelves that was grown using chemicals and farmed in factories.
And despite there generally being an additional price added to organic produce, the argument for eating organic has become more compelling than ever before.
Health reasons are the main people switch to eating organic. Modern fruit and vegetables are often grown with the aid of pesticides, which can essentially poison your system. You don’t see many people reaching for bottles of poison from the shelves when out shopping for their evening meal, yet some people seem happy to eat produce with the real prospect of pesticide residue on it. These routinely used pesticides are linked with cancer, birth defects and other serious developmental problems.
Recent studies into organic fruit and vegetables at have concluded organic food contains between 19 – 69% more antioxidants which help prevent cancer and heart disease and boost immunity. Organic fruit & veg are often much fresher due to the fact they don’t contain preservatives.
What’s Not in Organic?
The beauty of organic is that pesticide residues are hardly ever found in organic food. Organic farmers always aim for zero pesticide use when growing their produce. The Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic certification body, does allow 8 pesticides in organic farming, but these can only be used when every other non-chemical approach hasn’t worked. Farmers also have to ensure as part of a plan that pesticides won’t be used in future growing.
A major reason for the increase in pesticides are GM, or genetically modified, crops. Most GM crops are engineered to be ‘herbicide tolerant’ so farmers can liberally apply pesticide to protect their crops. They have also been found to have a contributing factor on long term health problems and the toll on the environment has been found to be potentially irreversible in terms of the damage done.
Another thing organic food lacks as opposed to typical food are artificial additives and flavourings. Per regulations manufacturers of organic food can only use additives that come from natural sources. Exposure to artificial additives has again been proven to have a detrimental effect on our health. Yet we continue to put them into our bodies.
A big reason for choosing organic is the peace of mind you get in knowing that your food is GM free because organically reared livestock can’t be fed with genetically modified food. Choose a registered organic supplier to get your meat, such as the free range chicken available at Graig Farm. Animal welfare is another issue at the heart of this debate with the world’s leading organisation in the area, Compassion in World Farming, supporting “organic as the best form of humane and sustainable agriculture”.
Conventional farmers routinely treat their animals with antibiotics, which has led to resistance to medicine in humans and animals, also encouraging the emergence of superbugs resistant to antibiotics. On the other hand, Organic farmers only treat their animals with antibiotics when they show actual clinical signs of illness, and not for other reasons such as promoting growth.
Is it Worth Paying a Little Extra?
As we mentioned at the start, there’s no getting around the fact organic generally costs slightly more. This is due to food being more labour intensive to grow and the yield can be much smaller than with intensively farmed produce where pesticides are used.
Perhaps the real question is can you afford not to eat organic? Given the damaging cost of chemical agriculture on our own health as well as the environment, it certainly feels like a no brainer.