A lot of people interested in organic foods opt for organic in the belief that it is greener, or more environmentally friendly, than commercially produced crops. But is this really the case?
1. Fewer Pesticides
Organic foods are produced without the use of heavy duty chemically-based pesticides, which is definitely better for the environment. Pesticides soak the edible plants and the ground. The rain can cause the chemicals to run off into bodies of water and be ingested.
Pesticides will often leave a residue on crops that can be difficult to wash off. In some cases, cooking the produce can actually make the pesticide even more potent and dangerous to humans.
However, not all crops need pesticides, and not all crops carry a risk of ingesting the residue. For example, if you don’t eat the skin or peel, the food will be a lot less dangerous.
The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases two lists every year:
- The Dirty Dozen
- The Clean 15
The Dirty Dozen are those foods highest in residue so they should always be bought organically, or grown yourself if possible. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php
This year, spinach tops the list, which is unfortunate because it is generally such a healthy food.
The Clean 15 are foods that you do not need to spend extra money on in relation to organic versions. Print out the free wallet card from their site and take it with you every time you go shopping in order to ensure you’re making smart choices. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fifteen_list.php
2. Better Nutrition
Some studies have shown that organic produce contains up to 40% more nutrients than commercially grown fruits and vegetables.
3. Increased Soil Fertility
Fewer chemicals and more composting, crop rotation and natural fertilizers mean better soil with more nutrients, which will then enable the naturally-growing plants to be more nutritious as well.
4. Shorter Distances Traveled
The average piece of produce in a supermarket travels around 800 miles to get there. In contrast, organic produce is usually locally sourced. This means less fuel and more support for the local economy. This in turn supports the economy of the entire region.
5. Fewer Resources Used/Wasted
Organic farms are usually a great deal more environmentally conscious and won’t let water go to waste or poison water sources or other farms with their run-off or toxic waste.
Vast amounts of resources are used up in relation to farming animals, particularly beef cattle, and huge amounts of pollutants are generated. More than 51% of greenhouse gases come from farming and 2,400 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of beef, compared to 244 gallons to make one pound of tofu. http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-environment/
Factory farming can be cruel beyond imagination, especially in relation to poultry living in overcrowded conditions as battery hens for eggs and food. Free-range, organic eggs and chickens used for food if a person is not vegetarian are far healthier and more sustainable.
Organic farming offers a more healthy and sustainable way of living which can be greener for the entire planet, provided that farmers adhere to the rules set down for foods and other items to be labeled organic.
As you can see, the case in favor of organic food is a strong one.