With so many pros and cons about organics making their way across the airwaves, it’s important to get back to basics. No politics or mental gymnastics required, just good old common sense.
What Makes Organic Better?
- First, and foremost, organic foods taste better! They are fresher and mostly grown locally, instead of having been picked before ripe and then treated with preservatives.
- The toxic chemicals in non-organic food build up in the liver, overwhelming our systems and slowing down our metabolism.
- Organic foods contain more vitamins and minerals than their non-organic counterparts; and contain notably smaller concentrations of toxic metals such as lead, mercury and aluminum.
How To Get The Best Price and Selection
- Choose locally grown produce that’s in season
- Check the web for local companies that deliver fresh produce; try sharing the order with another family member or neighbor for maximum values; since these growers don’t have high overhead, you benefit on cost.
- Most cities have a local farmers’ market
- Grow your own! Even if a balcony is your only outdoor space, you can grow organic herbs (once you’ve cooked with these you will never go back to packaged), cherry tomatoes and other small produce. Look on the web for organic seeds and you’ll be amazed at the beautiful and delicious varieties available. If you have a large yard, you may want to start with a small section of rows and choose a few of your favorites.
What Does the “Certified Organic Seal” Really Mean?
- The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, overseen by the US Department of Agriculture, was created in order to promote the healthy interplay between humans, animals and plant life, and the soil in which our foods are farmed.
- In order to bear the USDA organic seal, a food has to have been grown and produced without pesticides, additives, fertilizers, irradiation or genetic modifications.
- Realize that products marked “Natural Foods” are grown using the same natural methods as organic. However, they do not meet the same USDA certifications for quality and their shelf life is prolonged with preservatives.
Organics Move Us Toward a More Conscious Planet
- Support your smaller, local farmers; they must compete with huge corporations and when we buy local we create jobs for our community.
- Water conservation is practice; farmers grow produce more suited to the climate in which their land is located
- Soil conservation is inevitable; increased carbon and nitrogen from organic farming create a more naturally weather-and-pest-resistant environment with longer yield per acre than inorganic methods.
- Fossil fuels are conserved; non-organic farmers use gas to run their equipment and ship their produce further distances than organic growers.
More and more grocery stores are carrying organic foods, with some switching over entirely such as Whole Foods. As with any other saleable product, the more we buy the more competitive the market becomes; with the obvious result being lower prices. In the meantime, what you save on health expenses will be far more beneficial than the few extra dollars that you spend eating organic.