Why Buy Organic?

Cost has been an objection if not a financial barrier for buying organic foods. But as organics become more widely grown and available organic foods have become much more affordable.

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Research continues to evaluate nutrition levels of organic foods versus non organic but is so far inconclusive. Not true or false, just not enough conclusive evidence yet to indisputably declare it more nutritious. Certain studies have, however, found much higher levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorous in organic foods. Other studies have found small or moderately higher levels of nutrients. But the one thing that is indisputable, it is safer. Period. There are no pesticides on or in organic produce. Pesticide is not safe, it kills living things, and pesticide residue remains even after washing. Furthermore, chemicals used to prevent weeds can be absorbed into the plants and chemical fertilizers leave a toxic buildup in the soil which may find it’s way into the produce.

The other potential “issue” with organics is freshness. Organic farmers use no preservatives or most wax coatings so shelf life of organic fresh food is shorter. And limited distribution networks for organics can cause delays in getting to your grocers shelves. In practice, many of us find the opposite to be true. I just finished a head of organic romaine lettuce that hade been in my crisper for three weeks. It was fresh, crisp and green, no wilting or browning or slime. I believe a combination of things can make organic produce the fresher option. Small organic farmers are nimble by necessity. Their crops often move very quickly direct to the grocers without being held in distribution centers and trucks for who knows how long. Of course the grocer needs to move the organics quickly to the shelf. They know it is critical to shelve and sell it fresh or it is wasted. Most organic consumers are savvy to the issue of freshness and look to purchase in season, from local growers, and be willing to buy what is available fresh this week and forego that list.

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One organic product, milk, is consistently fresher longer than non-organic. It is processed at much higher temperatures which kills more harmful bacteria than pasteurization and results in a very shelf stable and sweet tasting milk. And no growth hormones!

Those are the potential downsides of buying organic. But there are so many very important reasons to buy organic. So lets make it easy now with a to the point list:

  • Organic foods are safe

  • Organic foods contain no controversial GMOs

  • Organic foods are healthy and will improve your health

  • Organic foods are quite likely more nutritious (I firmly believe this to be true)

  • Organic meats, dairy and eggs are more heart healthy than non-organic

  • Organic meats do not contain antibiotics

  • Organic foods do taste better because of the growing practices and no artificial preservatives

  • Organic foods supports small and local farmers

  • Organic foods prevent buildup of chemicals our bodies

  • Organic foods prevent the transfer of toxins to unborn babies

  • Organic foods prevents chemicals and pesticides from entering our water sources

  • Organic foods promote plant, insect, bird, pollinator and soil microbe diversity

  • Organic foods prevents fish, animals and birds from consuming pesticides and chemicals

  • Organic foods are grown with sustainable practices, reducing soil erosion and improving the soil

  • Organic foods consume less fossil fuels in production

  • Organic food prices are coming down as consumers buy more, helping to support the industry grow

If you frequent local farmers markets, ask the growers about their practices. You may be surprised to find that many of them grow organically but cannot afford the high price of certification. Get to know and trust your local growers. Also note that foods grown in other countries that are certified organic must meet the same requirements for certification as US growers.

Sharon DwyerComment