Critiquing the Critics of Organics

74In a recent debate on social media, I was surprised at how many people were convinced that organics is not sustainable, and that it is even harmful to the environment. After much trawling through comments and eliminating one or two ‘bogus’ social media profiles, it became evident that many of these organic farming critics have a lack of understanding around what organic means, and the principles behind it.

Let’s address some of the common statements that were made:

“Only about 30% of organic food is actually even organic”

First of all, we’re not sure where this person derived the number of 30% from. However, what they may be referring to is that there are foods which have the word ‘organic’ in their name, but are not actually certified. This is likely where the notion that ‘organic food is not actually organic’ has come from. A food producer may genuinely believe their product is organic and that the ingredients in it have been organically grown. Or they may have just used the word because they can (marketing purposes). However, the best way to ensure that what you are eating really is organic, is by choosing products that are certified. If you choose certified organic, you can rest assured that the product has met strict organic criteria and standards.

“Organic pesticides are worse for the environment”

This statement shows a lack of understanding of organic principles. Organic systems use principles such as manure to feed the soil, crop rotation, ecology and biodiversity, and companion planting to grow strong, healthy crops. Organic farmers understand these principles and follow them so that there is little need for pesticides. Many organic farmers will choose to remove weeds manually rather than apply a natural pesticide. Yes, there are pesticides that are allowed to be used in organic farming but they are naturally derived and are biodegradable. If they are used, the focus is on control, rather than annihilation of pests because organic farmers understand the importance of a fully functioning eco system.

This statement prompted me into an email discussion with Philippa Jamieson, editor of Organic NZ. Philippa explains: “Organic growers are allowed under certification rules to use a certain quantity of copper sprays in orchards for fungal disease, but it’s limited. Copper is a heavy metal and can build up in the soil. Apart from that I haven’t heard of any organic pesticide that anyone in the organic sector (or outside of it) has expressed any concern about whatsoever!”

“The organic system is un-regulated”

I suspect that the worry here is similar to the concern behind the first statement (“Only about 30% of organic food is actually even organic”). The problem here may be more related to the consumers’ perception that something is organic, by the way it is marketed. Remember to choose certified organic so you can rest assured that the product you are choosing has been regulated. In NZ, the organic certification bodies are Bio Gro NZ, Asurequality and OFNZ.

I am far more concerned about the regulation of non-organic pesticides because so many harmful pesticides have been regulated for use.

“Organic farming is not sustainable”

The argument here is that yields from organic farming are lower so we need more land to get the same amount and balance of food and would have to destroy forest to do so.

To respond to the critics on this one: We could go organic if we all ate less meat and more vegetables, pulses and grains as it takes far less land to produce these foods than it does for meat. A surplus of food and environmental problems exist with the traditional system.

Additionally, studies are now noting comparable yields in organic farming – the gap is closing.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Organic Food?

73A hundred years ago, just before the advent of the agricultural chemical’s like DDT, We were farming as nature intended, using natural farming techniques passed down for centuries. Soils were rich and fertile and farmers knew they needed to keep it that way so crops continued to flourish. We relied on the health of the soils as the foundation of the plants health. No chemical fertilisers or pesticides were used as they didn’t exist yet. This was true organic farming.

Then it all changed, the farming community transformed into an industrialised machine with a profit mindset. From the 1920’s we began synthesising a hoard of agricultural fertilisers that increased plant growth and yield. This meant farmers could focus less time replenishing the soil through composting and growing cover crops, and more time selling their increased yield. This seemed like a great idea in the short term, but removing the process of soil regeneration resulted in soils lacking essential minerals and microbes. This gave nutritionally deficient and therefore sick plants. A peach in 1900 had 52 times the nutritional value of a peach today. Insects, being more attracted to sick plants took advantage of the situation and effected the creation of chemical pesticides. And right up until present day this battle between chemicals and nature has ensued.

Organic food as we know it today, is just farming as we did before chemicals, as nature intended. Organic food is not contaminated with harmful pesticides or other chemicals. There are no chemical additives in organic food that are typically found in other foods. Two independent comprehensive studies each analysing around 40 previously published studies comparing the differences between organic and conventional foods have concluded that there is overwhelming evidence that organic food is more nutritious. One report found that on average organic food is higher in vitamin C, mineral levels and phytonutrients – plant compounds that can be effective against cancer.

So the choice between conventional and organic food is a choice between food grown in deficient soils with chemicals and food grown in soils which farmers must keep healthy without the use of any chemicals.

A great way to get started is with home delivery as produce is sourced and delivered fresh to your door without the hassles of shops. And ordering can be done from the convenience of your own home.

What Makes “Organic Food” Organic and Clean?

72As more and more people wanted to eat food that was free of chemicals and unnatural processes, they began growing their own crops without the use of harmful chemicals.

Smaller farmers also began to revolt against factory farming and they returned to old school farming methods. Then those farmers were able to offer us the alternative to industrially grown produce.

This food began to be called organic because the term implies that everything was produced using only living matter, like plants and animals instead of chemicals.

Pretty soon the big guys could see the attraction that was growing in the market place. They began to adopt the labels and slap them onto the same stuff they were already growing. False advertising? Pretending? Just think of all the “green” products you see in the supermarket.

So the term, organic, had to be regulated somewhat. Finally, standards are set now, and farmers have to meet those standards before they can call their food “organic.” The standards are exactly what you think they’d be (who knew the government could do something straight-forward?).

Organic farmers are not allowed to use bioengineered genes (GMOs), synthetic pesticides, sewage sludge-based fertilizer, or petroleum-based fertilizers. Organic livestock need to be fed organic feed and they also need to be able to go outdoors and roam in minimum space.

Fortunately, the guidelines prohibit growth hormones, antibiotics, and animal-by-products as well.

Of course there are marketing cheats aiming to fool us with false claims so we need to be on our toes. If it says anything but “Organic” or “Certified Naturally Grown” they’re probably hiding something.

If you’re not familiar, “Certified Naturally Grown” is an alternative to organic which is controlled by a non-profit organization. They’re held to the same standards as “Organic” but they’re inspected by other farmers instead of the government.

It is not the same as a food simply saying it’s “natural” so be careful, they like to trick us.

Affects of Pesticides On Your Body

The whole reason we want organic food is to protect our health; non-organic foods can have some serious health implications. Studies have revealed that pesticides show up in our bodies from eating non-organic food, and often at levels several times higher than the FDA deems is “safe.”

Many of these chemicals have been linked to serious health issues like birth defects, infertility, and cancer in both adults and children.

Are you pregnant, or planning to be anytime soon?

Pregnant women can be extremely vulnerable to pesticides because they increase the stress on an already over-stressed body. Even worse, the chemicals can even be transmitted from you to your child, whether still in the womb or through breast-feeding later.

Some tests of children have revealed the presence of nerve-damaging chemicals at 4 times what is officially deemed as “safe” levels. Those chemicals are deliberately designed to kill insects by targeting their nervous system.

Frankly, it seems too obvious to me that those same chemicals will damage our nervous systems exactly the same way they kill the insects. Yes, pesticides come in doses much too low to kill us, but even an only slightly unhealthy diet will catch up to you after years of maintaining it.

Another part of that same study revealed significantly high amounts of organochlorine pesticides in women. You might ask, “What’s so special about that?”

Well, organochlorine pesticides can be passed down to your child during pregnancy. If that happens, it causes a disruption in vital brain development – leading to learning disabilities and other neurological problems.

None of us want that happening to our children.

Processed foods are a danger but not the only one. Contaminated food comes out the farm gate on the way to the factory before processing, so we need to be careful where we get our “clean” foods from.

What Foods Are Best To Eat Organic

Ideally, if it was once alive, whether plant or animal, then we want it to be organic.

You’ve probably heard of organic animals, right? That’s because animals aren’t spared the treatment we get; farmers feed them the same crap they feed us.

They use crops in their feed filled with pesticides, but they also include growth hormones and keep the animals locked up indoors 24/7. It’s cheaper.

Organic animals are pesticide and hormone-free so you don’t need to worry about putting those harmful chemicals in you or your family’s bodies.

Organic is expensive, though. We can’t always afford to spend extra on the better quality stuff, so are there some guidelines we can use to put our money in the best spot?

Yes, there’s a list of the “Deadly 14? foods that should always be bought organic. The Environmental Working Group studied data from 9 years of research and told us the 14 foods which tested the highest for pesticides:

* Apples

* Grapes

* Strawberries

* Peaches

* Spinach

* Celery

* Cherry tomatoes

* Potatoes

* Imported snap peas

* Imported nectarines

* Cucumbers

* Sweet bell peppers

* Hot peppers

Do you like blueberries? A lot of us do, but did you know that if you buy domestically grown blueberries they can have organophosphate insecticides?

Organophosphates are a common nerve agent used for chemical weapons. It’s used to kill us humans, not just insects.

Even low levels of exposure inhibits brain development, often resulting in not only slower learning and reduced physical coordination for our children, but ADHD too. If you’ve got a growing family, you may want to think twice about buying non-organic blueberries…

or anything else.

These organophosphates aren’t unique to blueberries, everything else on that list above can also be sprayed with these deadly chemicals

But, I know we don’t always have the money to spend extra on organic foods, some of us have a tight budget to keep. That’s why I’ve got another list for you.

This one has the foods that tested the lowest for chemicals:

* Onions

* Pineapple

* Corn

* Avocado

* Asparagus

* Mango

* Kiwi

* Sweet peas

* Cabbage

* Papaya

* Eggplant

* Winter squash

* Bananas

* Cauliflower

* Broccoli

* Melons

You may have noticed that most of them have a skin we peel or cut off before eating. At least, most of us normal people do. The chemicals tend to not make it all the way through the skin into the good part we eat, so we get food less tainted by chemicals.

Good ol’ nature protecting itself from us.

The other foods, like broccoli, are just unappetizing to pests so they’re not sprayed as much. If only they’d leave our other food alone too.

Although organic food is not any more nutritional than mass produced foods, it is a great fit for a clean eating diet simply because it is free of chemical pesticides.

And let’s face it, your body must be better off without additives that are powerful killers of insects, don’t you think?

Organic Food for Babies and Toddlers

71To provide your toddler with the best healthy foods possible, organic foods should be examined.

After a close look, you will see that there are a number of benefits to eating organic foods. These benefits include natural foods, as opposed to foods that are filled with sugars and other additives. Eating organically can also help to improve one’s health, as well as the environment. It has been said that the longer you eat organic foods, the better your health is likely to be. That is why you should encourage your toddler to eat organically.

One of the biggest concerns of parents is that their children will not like organic foods. Chances are, your toddler will not be able to tell the difference. Of course, you do not want to lie or withhold the truth from your child, but you may not want to let him or her know that they are eating organic foods right away. For toddlers and preschoolers, organic isn’t necessarily a word that is associated with “yummy,” foods, even though it can and is. After your child has developed a liking for organic foods, then let them know.

Another concern that many parents have is what they can feed their children. Many toddlers and preschoolers are able to eat table food with adults. This is easy if the rest of your family eats organic foods as well. Your child can simply just enjoy a meal with you. With that said, there are many parents who also want to provide their children with kid friendly foods. This may include foods that have fun character shapes or characters on the boxes. Parents also want foods that are convenient and easy to prepare for certain occasions. The good news is that you can still get these foods organically.

When looking to buy organic toddler food, you will find that you have a number of different options. There are a number of organic food companies that specialize in selling food designed for toddlers. Of course, Earth’s Best Organic is not the only company that you have to choose from, but they are one of the most popular. Earth’s Best Organic comes highly rated and recommend by many parents, teachers, and even some healthcare professionals. For that reason, we will be examining their line of organic food for toddlers so that you can get a good idea as to what types of food your toddler can eat when on an organic diet.

Earth’s Best Organic, as well as number of other organic food companies, have a line of foods that are ideal for breakfast. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it is important that your child is able to eat what that they love. The good news is that you do have a number of different options. Three popular options for toddlers are organic waffles, organic O shaped cereal and organic instant oatmeal.

As previously stated, many parents want to have organic foods on hand for their toddlers that are healthy, but also fun to eat and easy to prepare. Earth’s Best Organic, as well a number of other natural food companies, have a number of products for you to choose from. Just a sample of what you may find can include frozen whole grain pizzas or organic soups. As for snacks, which many toddlers consume before lunch and after dinner, there are a number of different options as well; however, organic crackers, organic cookies, and organic fruit bars are recommended and kid approved.

As you can see, you have a number of different options when looking to feed your toddler organic foods. As a reminder, you do not necessarily have to purchase foods that are designed for toddlers, as many toddlers can eat the same organic foods that adults, like you, do.

Hi, I am Aldona. I am writing about family, babies, healthy pregnancy and toy reviews. We think it is nice that we are able to offer products for babies and toddlers, baby nursery items and baby supplies. How to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy.Healthy food for Pregnancy,for Mother and Baby.Pregnancy is a time when your health is of utmost importance. You are taking prenatal vitamins, but some say that prenatal vitamins are not absorbed as readily as nutrients from natural food sources. One way to get those essential nutrients into your body is nutritious food.

To Go Organic or Not?

A harvest of season vegetables in a wicker basketOrganic foods usually meet stringent standards regarding being grown without pesticides and artificial fertilisers. There are rules about how animals must be kept and what they can be fed and what substances can and can’t be used. If it’s certified organic, you have an assurance that it meets the regulations and that it has been inspected to prove it. If it says it’s organic then it is.

On the whole it’s better for the planet and for your body as they use fewer pesticides and people who eat organic have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies. This means there are less toxins possibly and less inflammation, depending of course on what else you put in there. No point in having organic veggies and getting ‘sloshed’ every weekend.

Usually Organic fruit and vegetables have more minerals because the soil is richer but as to whether you are getting more vitamins may be debatable because everyone is an individual. If you are not in top health these days then you probably need vitamin supplementation until you regain your health.

Organically grown food however is usually fresher and tastes better. Also it isn’t that it’s much more expensive than mass-produced food. The pricing usually reflects the quality of the food and the true cost of producing it. Whilst conventional agriculture is supported by the government it artificially lowers the prices. We think we are getting a bargain but the real price we pay for it is our health.

Studies show that a family who eliminated all non-organic items from their diet and started eating organic had lower toxin levels, less mercury and other minerals that can overload your body and make you feel ill. So why not try some organic vegetables and fruit? There are an ever-increasing number of stores that carry them now and we can even get healthier eggs. If you don’t want to make a radical change then just change one or two things every few weeks. In a few months you will have a much healthier eating plan and lifestyle. If you have never tried organic vegetables before and you have pretty good taste buds still intact you will taste the difference. It’s just a matter of adjusting your shopping list and eating habits.

A trip to the organic market the other week only left me paying about $10 – $15 more for my groceries. That’s not a lot considering the cost of manufactured food and what it does to our health and also to our planet. Remember that eating healthier foods that are grown better and more naturally also assists in keeping our soils purer and makes our planet on the whole less toxic. So this is something that is worth thinking about – for yourself, for the kids and for our whole general lifestyle. The more of us that eat healthy, natural foods, use natural products and refuse to put poisons and toxins in our body the more impact we will have and the faster our world will make positive changes. Your voice is important. It’s about people power.