6 Reasons to Buy Organic Products

For farmers, organic is neither easy nor cheap. That “organic” sticker requires extra time, quite a bit of extra money and routine inspections from the government to ensure no chemicals, antibiotics or synthetics are involved in the growth of organic goods. It is the most heavily regulated (and closely monitored) United States production system. So why would farmers opt out of the much easier conventional practices? The answer is pretty simple: organic isn’t just a food trend — it is a safer choice for both you and the planet.

Health is Wealth.

Consuming organic foods reduces your exposure to pesticides. Pesticides are toxic — if they can kill small living things, they can do damage to bigger living things. Pesticides can cause neurological problems, cancer, infertility, vomiting, diarrhea, allergies, asthma, skin irritation, ADHD, birth defects and more. That’s a pretty scary shortlist.

As far as nutrients go, some research supports the theory that organic foods contain more nutrients, while other studies show no significant difference. The jury is, as they say, still out.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts.

Organic foods may look a bit strange, but that’s the intention of nature. It’s the flavor that counts, right? If we’re not eating for nutrients, we’re eating for flavor. Organic produce tends to be bolder, brighter and much tastier than the more muted nonorganic version. Heirloom tomatoes are a popular example — usually misshapen and splotchy, heirlooms have the best burst of flavor on the market. They certainly didn’t get that way with hormones.

Happy Soil.

On an organic farm, the farmers rely on composting, crop rotation and other natural methods of weed control and growth promotion. In the place of these techniques, non-organic farmers use petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers that strip the soil of essential nutrients. Besides the lack of toxins, the organic processes actually allow for carbon dioxide absorption, reducing the carbon emissions and combating climate change. An added bonus: natural soil doesn’t cause nearby bodies of water to be tainted by chemical runoff, which happens when conventional farming chemicals seep into the ground.

Soil erosion is a problem that seems to be discussed much less than other environmental issues. It is dangerous for a number of reasons — soil erosion promotes flooding and drought and causes excess dust (which may carry around 20 harmful, infectious disease organisms) to pollute the air. Organic farming practices such as conservation tillage and cover crops helps control soil erosion.

Biodiversity is Key.

About 75% of agricultural genetic diversity has been lost in the last hundred years. That’s concerning, if you’ve paid attention to history. Remember the potato famine in Ireland? A blight took out the whole crop, which was made up a very small number of varieties. Millions of people starved to death. Without crop diversity, we are ripe for devastation. I apologize for that badly-timed food pun.

Most conventional food is a hybrid created from a chain of hybrids that finally produced large, uniform, attractive specimens. Most organic farms work with nature to grow an assorted range of food, keeping the soil healthy and crops abundant.

Nature’s Best.

Organic farmers make sure their animals have room to roam outside, organic feed and clean living conditions. This isn’t just an option — this is by law. Animals are not treated with antibiotics or growth hormones, and therefore live healthier, more natural lives. Admittedly, the United States policies are far from perfect, and focus more on how the animals are fed and medically treated than a pleasant lifestyle. That said, conventional practices are much worse. You’ve heard of the documentaries. You know. Our demand for better animal treatment has begun to make quite a difference — make sure to look for the Animal Welfare Approved label.

The Price Is Right.

Farmer’s markets, private label products, customer loyalty programs and coupons have made organic shopping more affordable than it has ever been. Additionally, the more you support organic farms, the cheaper organic products will become. If the demand shifts entirely from conventional to organic, organic prices will only be competing with themselves, driving costs down even further.

And there you have it. Let’s get back into nature. Love you.