The battle between organic produce and store bought goods has been raging for a while now. Most supermarket bought fruits and vegetables can contain artificially added chemicals and pesticides. Organic, home grown produce is the only way to know that the food you eat is “what it says on the tin” and is truly good for you.
It is believed that organic foods hold more antioxidant compounds that have been found to have better health benefits than regular, store bought food. Such produce even has lower levels of pesticides and toxic metals.
Antioxidants in organic food has previously been linked to reduction in a variety of chronic diseases including certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative conditions – however, yet to be conducted are studies that show the health benefits of a broad organic diet. (theguardian.com)
The Soil Association found that people choose to own grown organic products for many reasons, the top three motivations being health, taste, and the environment.
55% of people choose organic because they believe it is healthier, 53% does so to avoid chemical residue and 44% care for the environment and nature, believing that organic growing helps the environment more.
The demand for organic food has increased over the years, as food bearing seals of organic approval are guaranteed and monitored by certifying bodies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its Organic Food Products Act.
Higher levels of toxic metals such as cadmium have been found in conventional crops, while pesticide residues were four times less likely to be found in organic food, in research funded by the European Union and The Sheepdrove Trust, an organic faming charity. (theguardian.com)
Organic Farming – The Benefits
“Relying on more natural forms of farming such as biological pest control and crop rotation, organic farming does not use chemical fertilisers or feed additives to livestock. Natural processes are used to replace chemical pesticides. One example of this is using ladybirds to eat aphids.” (bbc.co.uk)
There are many positive aspects of organic farming including: less threat to natural habitats, better condition of soil and an increase in biodiversity with fewer chemicals which have been found to harm bees and other insects.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations finds that a major problem in many agricultural areas is the pollution of ground water with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The use of these is prohibited in organic agriculture and replaced by organic fertilizers such as animal manure, compost and green manure. Furthermore, greater biodiversity is also used in terms of cultivate species and permanent vegetation, enhancing the soil structure and infiltration of water. Groundwater pollution is greatly reduced thanks to well managed organic systems with better nutrient retentive abilities. Conversion to organic agriculture is encouraged as a restorative measure in some areas where pollution is a real issue, such as France and Germany.
The Organic Market
In the USA, organic food has seen sales exceed $31.32bn in 2013 and was predicted to generate roughly $42bn in 2014 according to Statista. The US organic food market is expected to experience solid growth until 2018 as stated in the United States Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities 2018 – an annual sector growth rate (CAGR) of 14%.
It is believed that around 81% of American families have purchased organic food at some point. Between 2002 and 2011, domestic organic food production increased by 240% compared to the non-organic food market which experienced a 3% rise. (gsvcap.com)
Growing Your Own Organic Food
If you find that organic food is costing you and your family more than you would like or you would like more control over your food, then starting your own organic garden might be the next step to take.
Growing organic fruit and vegetables means that you will not be using synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. It may take time to discover how best to protect your plants from insects, at first it will be trial and error. With a few easy steps, you can help provide your family with a healthier, more holistic lifestyle.
Choose plants that are well adjusted to each spot where you want them to go in terms of light, moisture, drainage and soil quality. The happier you make your plants, the more resistant they will become to those pesky attackers! Looking for seedlings? Look for plants that have been raised without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Searching a local farmers market can help you find plants native and best suited to your area and climate. Not only can growing your own organic food help you and your family lead a healthier lifestyle – it can also be a transformative experience. Whether having a few potted plants or setting up a full backyard project, all your produce needs can be sorted in house; without the use of potentially harmful pesticides.
Give it a try and see how long it is before you and your family are reaping the health benefits of your own organic garden.