WHY EAT ORGANIC FOODS?
If you’d like to see our land and water support life on Earth well into the future, you need to know about organic farming and sustainable agriculture. Here’s a brief introduction to a very important subject.
Our biggest food fears stem from pesticides and the concern that those currently used to grow our food might someday prove to be carcinogenic, as DDT was discovered to be a few generations ago.
In 1993 the EPA estimated that over two billion pounds of pesticide-active ingredients a year are applied throughout the United States. The agriculture industry accounted for 85 percent of this pesticide use. Much of this flows down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. This activity has created a dead zone at the mouth of the river as big as the state of New Jersey. Nothing lives in the dead zone. Since current research points to and suspects pesticide poisoning as being carcinogenic and hormone-disruptive, we are being forced to think about other ways of doing things. More and more of us are seeing fit to spend a little extra to buy food labeled “organic”. Organic means free of chemicals, additives, hormones and any kind of pollutants.
What is organic farming?
Organic farming systems do not use toxic chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Instead they are based on the development of biological diversity and the maintenance and replenishment of soil fertility. Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of the food without artificial ingredients, genetic engineering,
preservatives, or irradiation.
What does certified organic mean?
Certified organic refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to strict uniform standards, verified annually by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspection of farm fields and processing facilities. Organic farm practices include long term soil management, buffering between organic farms and any neighboring conventional farms, product labeling, and record keeping.
How do organic farmers control pests, weeds and diseases?
The primary strategy is to build healthy soils and prevent plant diseases. This is done with compost based fertilizers and compost itself. Weeds are controlled through increased cultivation, as well as through cover crops, mulches,
flame weeding and crop rotation.
Why does organic cost more?
Organically produced foods must meet stricter regulations governing all these steps so the processes are often more labor and management intensive.
A Moral Dilemma
Science is now being used to change nature with very little knowledge about the full impact on life on the planet. Large biotechnology companies, heavily invested in genetic engineering, are behind the push for genetically engineered foods. Genetically engineered foods are experimental foods. Do we want to be guinea pigs? Currently, people are accumulating toxins in their bodies faster than they can be eliminated. Genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms are rapidly and insidiously infiltrating our food system in the United States, and around the world. Since genetically engineered foods are not labeled, people are unaware they are consuming them. Scientific studies have only scratched the surface of their dangers to health. Probably the greatest threat from genetically altered crops is the insertion of modified virus and insect genes into crops The scientists either graft the gene right into the plant or splice it into the seed. It has been shown in the laboratory that genetic recombination creates highly virulent new viruses from such construction.
Genetically modified organisms have the potential to disrupt delicate eco-systems, threaten plant life, animal and human life, and undermine organic agricultural methods. Beneficial ladybugs and monarch butterflies that feed on plants that have been genetically altered have lowered fertility rates as well as decreased larvae survival. Think globally before taking in any more fast foods from big business.
If you cannot eat organic, eat fresh with as much raw as you can manage. Fresh and home made (or Organic Oasis) reduces the intake of refined sugars and funky fats, not to mention salt and preservatives.