(NaturalNews) In a perfect world, all the food we bought would be organic. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to pay a premium price to buy organic food. In recent years, the organic versus non-organic debate has become one of the liveliest in the food world: Is organic food worth paying more for? In this article, we will review 5 reasons why it pays to go organic. In a nutshell, organic food is good: good for the environment, good for you and good for the small-scale family farms that grow it.
Eco-friendly Organic food is produced based on a system of farming that has, at its heart, a fundamental commitment to human health, animal welfare and a sustainable environment. Organic farming methods are tailored to maintain and replenish soil fertility without the use of any toxic or persistent chemical inputs. According to the National Organic Standards Board, it is geared toward restoring and enhancing biological cycles and ecological harmony.
Non-GMO Organic food is GMO-free. It is real, natural food, unlike the synthetic, genetically-engineered "Frankenfood" that is created in a laboratory for profit. Based on US federal requirements, organically-raised animals cannot have their genes modified or be fed any genetically engineered foods. These animals cannot be administered any antibiotics, bovine human growth hormone (rbGH) or other synthetic drugs.
Uncontaminated Organic food does not contain toxic chemical residues such as pesticides, heavy metals and synthetic fertilizers. Tests conducted by the USDA show that most non-organic fruit and vegetables have residual pesticides, even after they are scrubbed or peeled. When systemic pesticides are used, they are absorbed into the entire fruit, and as such are impossible to remove. Peaches, apples, celery, pears and strawberries were found to carry the heaviest pesticide load.
With its zero tolerance for synthetic chemicals, organic farming helps protect essential water resources from contamination. According to estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), run off of pesticides from industrial agriculture has contaminated the groundwater in 38 states, polluting the main source of drinking water for over half of the country's population. The Environmental Working Group reports that the levels of herbicide contamination in some cities' tap water exceeds federal lifetime standards for months at a time.
A Healthier Choice There is growing evidence that organic food has a higher nutrient density than commercially produced food. This is because organically-raised animals, such as free range chickens and grass-fed cattle, live in a healthier, natural environment and usually eat a much wider variety of nutrients than their factory-raised counterparts. These animals have been shown to be significantly healthier than those that are raised on factory farms.
Furthermore, organic foods undergo minimal processing, so as to maintain the food's integrity. The addition of synthetic industrial ingredients such as preservatives, artificial flavors, food coloring or irradiation is strictly prohibited.
Support Organic Farmers By buying organic, you support the small-scale family farms that produce organic foods, which not only supports their livelihood but also benefits local economies. Organic methods, which are more labor-intensive than conventional farming, create job opportunities for rural communities. This in turn increases tax revenues, which can be invested in funding schools, hospitals and other public works. Researchers have also found that by practicing organic farming methods, these farmers reduce their production costs by more than 25%. This is as a result of eliminating the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and increasing their crop yields up to five-fold in less than 5 years. This explains why organic farms have consistently been found to be more profitable than conventional farms.
The Armchair Herbalist is a copywriter, turned insurance agent, turned freelance writer and published author. She has written numerous health- and business-related articles and eBooks for Demand Studios, Suite101, Bright Hub and LovetoKnow. She also writes for www.TopHomeRemedies.com, an alternative health website. She is a self-professed armchair herbalist, and authored the book: 101 Herbal Tea Remedies: Healing Infusions and Decoctions from Nature's Own Pharmacy.