Organic Farming – Is It Better & Should You Be Eating Organic or Not?
What Is Organic Farming?
There is more to organic farming than growing crops and rearing livestock. It is doing it without the use of pesticides, GMOs, fertilizers, growth hormones, and antibiotics. Organic farming is a method whose holistic approach ensures optimum productivity while leaving the environment intact. In essence, it promotes a healthy and balanced predator/host relationship. It is growing plants and animals the natural way. It is sustainable too.
Plants that grow in a natural setting such as a forest or a prairie get their nutrients from natural decay. Soil borne organisms cause the decay of plant and animal matter dropped upon or added to the soil. The plants grow utilizing the nutrient provide by the decay. The plants then die and decay, completing a cycle. By adding organic material to the soil, organic practices attempt to copy that cycle . They are feeding the soil not the plants. More specifically, they are feeding the organisms in the soil.
Organic farmers add nutrients to the soil by using plant, animal and mineral based fertilizers. Most being slow release type fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers are not used in an organic setup. Synthetic fertilizers feed the plants and not the soil. In doing so, they also kill the beneficial organisms in the soil. Without the organisms in the soil, farmers have to add more fertilizers.
Is Organic Farming the Future of Farming or a Fad Niche?
We’ve already plunged into the second half of 2016, and as pundits put it: this is the year of organic farming. And they were dead right on the spot. Organic farming has continued to gain more and more traction as the preferred method of farming across the globe. Over the past three decades or so, conventional agriculture has been plagued by a plethora of issues, ranging from ethical and environmental concerns to overuse of inorganic fertilizers and everything in between. So, it would seem like organic farming is the silver lining.
As you might expect, there are two schools of thought when it comes to organic farming. Advocates claim that the nutritional, environmental, and health benefits of organic farming make it a clear winner. Others purport that the said benefits are nothing but exaggerated. They also claim that higher costs and lower yields make it insensible. In the spirit of making things clear-cut, let’s expound on five common questions on organic farming.
Is Organic Farming Good to the Environment?
Yes, you bet. The central tenet of this type of farming revolves around the a basic idea. You don’t need to use herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizer and a host of other environmentally damaging elements. Organic practices build up organic matter in the soil. As a result you have better soil structure and water retention. Organic farming leaves the soil in a better condition in the long run.
Since organic fertilizers are natural, toxic runoff is reduced to almost nothing. Organic farming also returns carbon to the soil and removes CO2 from the air.
The bottom line is that growing organic is more environmentally friendly than conventional farming, pound for pound.
Do Organically Farmed Foods Have More Nutrients?
Nutrition in Organic food has always elicited debate. Most consumers claim that organic food is indeed more nutritious than conventional produce. However, there are few studies to back their claim. However, I think there are some obvious benefits of eating organic. Since organic foods don’t have any preservatives, they are usually much fresher. Fresher means less nutrient loss due to age.
Is Eating Organic Safer for You?
No question. Conventionally farmed produce has varying concentrations of pesticides and insecticides. Studies by FDA and EPA show that a significant amount of these harmful chemicals might find their way to your plate. Conventionally raised animal are given growth hormones, antibiotics. These also find their way into your plate.
GMO or genetically modified seeds are not used in Organic programs. These type of plants have had their DNA altered to produce an insecticide for pest control or be resistant to a certain type of herbicide so they can be sprayed for weed control. Many GMO seeds have been developed by Monsanto that will resist their cancer causing chemical Roundup. Roundup and similar herbicides are known to have seeped into our groundwater, runoff into our streams and rivers as well as be blown into our atmosphere.
you are probably eating GMO if you are eating anything with soy, corn or canola oil. Almost all of the soybeans and corn in the US are grown from Monsanto’s GMO seeds. Monsanto seeds are responsible for most of the canola oil produced today. And as you might imagine, most of these crops are sprayed with herbicides.
You can read more about GMO’s here.
In my opinion, organic food seems safer and healthier option for us and the planet.
Does Organically Farmed Food Taste Better?
This is a hard question to answer with any scientific facts. Since most organic farms are actually situated close to urban communities. Some of them in the inner city blocks. The produce reaches the aisle faster as a result. This can mean that you get fresher, tastier, and more nutritious organic food. It’s not always the case, so check to see where it came from.
I can only go by my own experience, but the stuff I grow or buy at the farmers market, is by far better than what I can get at any grocery store. My organic eggs are much tastier than store bought. The grass fed beef I buy from the farm down the road is exceptional. Homemade cheese from organic grass fed beef or goats is far superior. The vegetables I grow taste better and don’t spoil as quickly. So again, in my opinion, yes it does taste better.