Organic or Non-Organic?
In the past few years, organic choices have become increasingly popular. Today, you can find an organic alternative for almost anything; from fresh produce, to meat, even to the teas you drink. However, this leads many to wonder what difference it makes to choose something that is organic as opposed to non-organic choices.
What is Organic?
Organic is the term that is used when something is grown or raised without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or genetic modification. Organic farmers focus more on conservation of land and water and the use of renewable reserves. This prevents toxic run off from pesticides and other chemicals from getting into our water supplies. For something to be claimed as organic it has to be approved by a government certified inspector who ensures that the farmer is growing everything up to standard. Furthermore, the companies that handle anything organic must also be certified as organic by a government certified inspector as well. Anything that is certified as organic will be labeled with a USDA seal. This seal is required for anything to be considered truly organic.
The Use of Pesticides & Other Chemicals
Every year nearly one billion pounds of pesticides are used in our agriculture. Pesticides can be biological or chemical and while biological pesticides are generally considered safe, chemical pesticides have long lasting negative effects. Among chemical pesticides lie some of the most deadly chemical compounds known in the world yet despite this they are still approved for use in agriculture. One major concern behind using pesticides is that often times while they are used with intention to kill of bad insects, many times they end up killing good insects as well such as bees and butterflies which are essential natural cross pollinators for many plants. The loss of bee and butterfly populations results in economical loses of up to $12 billion dollars. The use of pesticides can result in serious health damages to farmers, consumers, as well as animals that are exposed to them. Pesticides can travel outside their intended area by being carried through wind and through run off that pollute our water supplies. Chemical pesticide residue can also linger on produce that is shipped out to stores for consumers.
The Effects of Organic Choices
The methods taken by organic farmers help conserve land, energy, and our environment. By making organic choices you are more likely to be supporting a local farm, which means that the money that is spent has more of a chance of supporting the area you live in. A lot of organic choices may cost just the same as conventionally produced choices. If the cost is higher it is good to consider that organically grown produce is generally more labor intensive and organic farms are generally smaller so they do not make as high of a profit as larger conventional farms do. As far as nutritional value goes, many believe that the reduced use of pesticides may make organic food a healthier choice however, there are not yet enough studies to back these claims. Whether or not organic food tastes any different is a matter of individual opinion, though many claim that organic food does indeed taste better than conventionally grown food. The best reason to support making an organic choice is that you will be contributing to the conservation of our environment. A healthy environment may also lead us to living healthier lives with the reduced use of harmful chemicals that can deplete our soil and poison our waters.