What is organic food? They were once only found in health food stores but they have skyrocketed in popularity in the last two decades. It’s now common practice for almost every grocery to stock organic options. But often, it’s hard to see what the fuss is all about. On one hand, you’re holding a conventionally developed apple, while on the other is an organically grown apple. The two apples are shiny, red, and firm—both provide fiber and vitamins and are free of cholesterol, fat, and sodium. So, does it matter which one you pick? Read on and discover the answer!
What Is Organic Food And Why Do We All Want It?
In this article:
- What Is Organic Food?
- What Are The Benefits of Organic Food?
- Why Do We All Want It?
- Does All Organic Food Have The Same Standards?
- Can I Produce Organic Food In My Garden?
- Is Organic Food More Expensive Than Conventional Food?
- How Can I Identify If Something Is Organic?
What Is Organic Food?
Organic food or products are from crops grown without artificial fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, biotechnology, or food irradiation. Feeds for livestock in organic farms are organically grown and animals are not 100% confined (as they are sometimes on conventional farms). They are also raised without synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics.
Although the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA allows certain synthetic ingredients for organic food, this must follow the specific standards provided and must be regulated by them. They also have certain guidelines for product labeling on organic food.
What Are The Benefits of Organic Food?
The effect of how your food is grown is not only limited to the environment, it also has a huge impact on your emotional and psychological health. Though FDA and USDA state that conventional produce is as healthy as the organic ones, many people still believe that the health benefits of organic food are way better than its conventional alternative.
- Organic food contains lesser pesticides. Chemicals like herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are commonly used in conventional farming leaving residues on the food we eat that may have harmful effects on our health.
- Organic produce is fresher. This is mainly because it doesn’t have any preservatives to make it last longer. But you still have to be careful because produce may not always come from farms close to where it is being sold.
- Organic or Traditional farming is good for the environment. Organic farming practices water conservation, reduces pollution, diminishes oil erosion, uses less energy, and increases soil fertility. Farming without the use of pesticides is good for the people and animals that live near the farm.
- Livestock raised organically are not provided with growth hormones and antibiotics. They are also allowed to have more space and the freedom to roam outdoors.
- Organic products are GE/GMO-free. Genetically Engineered (GE) or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are products whose DNA was altered in ways that do not happen in nature or in natural crossbreeding. The purpose of this method is to produce an insecticide or make them resistant to pesticides.
- Organic milk and meat are richer in some nutrients. The results of European study in 2016 indicates that nutrients in organic milk and meat were 50% higher than nutrients in their alternative.
Why Do We All Want It?
There are significant advantages of buying and consuming organic food. Many people believe organic food is safer, tastier, and healthier than the commercially-produced food. The superior quality is the main reason why we all prefer organic food. If we really think of it, going organic is working with nature without destroying it. It provides a higher level of animal welfare and a very sustainable management of the natural environment, lesser pesticides are used, and no artificial fertilizers or manufactured herbicides are used. Whenever you’re buying and consuming organic products — food, drinks, textiles, and beauty, you are actually doing your part in promoting a more sustainable world. Isn’t this reason enough to want organic food?
Does All Organic Food Have The Same Standards?
Every food product has a different method of production and processing, so the standards also vary. For example, the production of organic milk has a different standard from the production of honey or coconut oil. The USDA is the agency responsible for identifying if a certain product complies with its organic standards.
Can I Produce Organic Food In My Garden?
Organic gardening is now creating a buzz despite its misconception. You may have heard people say it involves too much hard work, but this should not dampen your spirit. Organic gardening is the best option for every aspect. You’ll see your efforts in producing your food the way our ancestors did will be greatly rewarded. If you’re just getting started with organic farming or gardening, don’t forget to do your homework and find out how easy it is to produce organic food in your garden.
Is Organic Food More Expensive Than Conventional Food?
Organic farming involves intensive labor and the practice of using only organic pesticides and fertilizers. These two natural products cost more than their chemical-based alternative. This is the reason why organic produce normally costs 15% to 100% more than commercially-produced food. There are ways through which you can make its cost bearable.
- Grow organic food in your garden
- Practice buying at farmers’ markets
- Join your CSA or Community Supported Agriculture farm
- Join a food cooperative
- Purchase in season
How Can I Identify If Something Is Organic?
Organic food has an organic logo on its packet, making it easier for the consumer to find and identify any organic product. Farmers, suppliers, manufacturers, and companies must follow all standard norms provided and regulated by the USDA regarding organic food labeling.
Watch the video below from Mind Over Munch and find out if organic food is better:
Choosing organic food offers nothing but a great opportunity to help the world and yourself. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. There is no denying that the benefits of organic food are better for your health and the planet. The cost is truly a worthwhile expense.
What is organic food but a chance to live healthier and more conscious of the world around us, right? Is this how you feel about buying and consuming organic food? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments section below.