organic food & our environment
July 16, 2010
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A long time ago, all foods were “organic.” They were grown and prepared without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics or irradiation. All food was once unrefined, whole and minimally processed, however today this food has a new name “organic”.  Since World War II and the start of chemical farming (and food processing), our Earth’s soil and the foods that grow in it have been increasingly depleted of many essential minerals and nutrients.

Our food today from either plant or animal origin, is not only deficient in nutrients, but also full of pollutants and farming chemicals. Our modern food process heavily denatures foods and deeply affects not only our food supply, but also our Earth, making it difficult to foster equilibrium and health.

Pesticides create extra work for the immune system, consequently allowing other carcinogens and pathogens to filter into the body and affect our health. In addition to this, today’s mass production of foods and factory farms are leaving a heavy carbon footprint on our planet.

Buying local and organic is your assurance that products have been grown and handled sans procedures that use persistent, toxic chemical inputs.

Some good reasons to buy and eat local and organic foods:

  • Keep chemicals off your plate. Pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms, and thus are harmful to humans. Many approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to some cancers and other diseases. Supporting organic, local agriculture is a way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, water and food supply.
  • Protect water quality. Pesticides pollute the public’s primary source of drinking water in over half the country’s population.
  • Organic farmers work in harmony with nature. Three billion tons of topsoil erodes from croplands in the U.S. each year, and much of it is due to conventional farming practices, which often ignore the health of the soil. Organic agriculture respects the balance necessary for a healthy ecosystem; wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fencerows, wetlands and other natural areas.
  • Save energy. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the U.S.
  • Support your local farmers. Although more and more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, many organic farms are small, independently owned and family operated farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can demand fair prices for crops. Keep in mind that the cost of “organic certification” can be quite costly, and not always necessary if you know where your food is coming from. Buying local allows you to peek directly into the farming practices used for your food, supports local economy and reduces your carbon footprint.
  • Support a true economy. Organic foods might seem expensive at first. However, your tax dollars pay for hazardous waste clean-up and environmental damage caused by conventional farming.  It also supports the organic farmers that are nourishing our Earth. Buying local and organic is voting with your dollars, every day.
  • Promote biodiversity. With the boom of conventional, mass-produced farming, planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970…but the lack of natural plant life diversity has greatly denatured our Earth’s soil.
  • Nourish our planet and health. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which in turn nourishes our plants. Well-maintained soil produces strong, healthy plants that have more nutrients than conventionally grown produce, which helps to sustain the health of our body and the planet.
  • Support our local farms! In Utah, there are many ways to support local farms. Below are a few helpful links to explore and join a Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA) in your area:

Local Harvest: http://www.localharvest.org

CSA Utah http://www.csautah.org

Slow Food Utah http://www.slowfoodutah.org

Bell Organic http://bellorganic.com

Information in this article was adapted from materials provided by The Institute for Intergrative Nutrition, Whole Foods Market and the Organic Trade Association.

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