As you may already know, pesticides and fertilizers are used in most of the produce you see in stores. Pesticides are chemicals that ward off bugs and critters from digging into the produce – which allows fruits and vegetables to be grown in a broader range of environments. Not only are pesticides bad for you, your fruits and veggies actually lose much of their nutrients when grown conventionally. Soil is not as rich as it once was – and fertilizer is used to expedite the growing process to decrease harvest length and increase profit. While that’s good for the farms, it’s not so good for our health. For this reason, many have turned to organic, naturally grown produce. Organic produce is grown without the use of chemical pesticides and is a much more natural way of growing.
Many people are aware that organic is a better option but are not willing to pay the higher prices. Yes, organic produce is usually more expensive than conventional produce. The only way for organic prices to reduce in time is by consumer demand… the more demand, the more likely government will address the subsequent issues. It takes an average of five years for a farm to convert to organic, in the mean time the farming method is more expensive but produce cannot be sold as organic. If possible, I would suggest trying to consume all organic produce. However, if it’s not in your budget to do so, no big deal! Trust me, as an actor I can totally relate.
There is a trick to this however: Certain items are less affected by pesticides than others. This will give you a better idea of which fruits and veggies are “safer” conventional.
Farmers Markets are a great way to save on organic produce. If you’re fortunate enough to have a local farmer’s market in the area, then you are blessed. You can buy organic fruits and vegetables for a fraction of what you would pay at a store. That’s because you’re buying directly from the source – no middle man means a lower cost for you. Not to mention, this stuff is fresh!
Environmental Benefits of Organic over Conventional
By buying organic produce you are not only cutting down the risks of consuming pesticides, you are in fact encouraging biodiversity. On a wider scale, organic farming reduces pollution incidents, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The more demand from consumers for organic produce the more farmers are encouraged to convert to organic farming methods.
Another benefit of organic farming: Organic farms seem to yield a higher abundance and diversity of species, when compared to conventional farms:
- Plants: five times as many wild plants in arable fields, 57 per cent more species and several rare and declining wild arable species found only on organic farms.
- Birds: 25 percent more birds at the field edge, 44 per cent more in-field in autumn/winter; 2.2 times as many breeding skylarks and higher skylark breeding rates.
- Invertebrates: 1.6 times as many of the arthropods that comprise bird food; three times as many non-pest butterflies in the crop areas; one to five times as many spider numbers and one to two times as many spider species.
- Crop pests: Significant decrease in aphid numbers; no change in numbers of pest butterflies.
- Distribution of the biodiversity benefits: Though the field boundaries had the highest levels of wildlife, the highest increases were found in the cropped areas of the fields.
- Quality of the habitats: Both the field boundary and crop habitats were more favourable on the organic farms. The field boundaries had more trees, larger hedges and no spray drift; the crops were sparser, with no herbicides, allowing more weeds; there was also more grassland and a greater variety of crop types.
Organic Farm VS Conventional Farm
Things to Keep in Mind
- Often you can tell if something is organic just by seeing it in the store. For example, organic apples are not covered in a layer of artificial wax such as the conventional types.
- Many of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the Untied States are imported from Mexico. The food standards in that Country are unfortunately not as well managed as those placed on farmers in the U.S. Many of the fruits and vegetable that are grown in other countries are watered with recycled water. Some of this water when tested, is shown to have high levels of sewage and E Coli bacteria. Organic fruits and vegetables that are certified will have been watered with fresh water or highly regulated recycled water, making them a much better choice.
- Common sense tells us that foods that are not doused in chemicals, hormones and preservatives are better for our bodies.
- By choosing to go organic, you are also “Going Green” and helping the environment.
- Organic produce tastes better and is better for you!
If you can, I highly recommend going organic – at least as much as possible. You will just feel “cleaner” and hopefully avoid future ailments that pesticides and added hormones may cause. That alone, should be reason enough to make the switch.
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