Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Organic is Better - Let me count the ways

A few days ago, my husband, who is not a true blue organic fan, told me his lips had been tingling for two days.  He thought maybe he was getting the dreaded cold sore, but nothing developed and the tingling continued.  Then it dawned on him.  The thing that had triggered the mystery lip-discomfort.  He had eaten a prune the night before.

 "was it organic?" I asked.

"No," he said sheepishly.

"Pesticide residue," I said.

"But I washed it." said he.

"Doesn't matter, if it was over-doused with poison."

"Yuck," he said.

Pesticide residue in our food is just one of the reasons that eating organic food is better for you. Despite what you might have read in the newspapers lately about there being no more nutrition in organic food than in conventionally grown food (a dubious claim, if you read the literature and comments closely), consider these other reasons to grow and eat organic:
  • Better for the land.  Soil that is not saturated with pesticides is more healthy, using natural mulch for fertilizer and no pesticides to linger in the ground, leach out to the water table or run-off to nearby streams and lakes.
  • Better for the people who grow and pick the produce we eat. Farmworkers have long been on the front line of the pesticide load.  Several of the early farmworker struggles were over the use of heavy pesticides in the fields. Farmworkers and their families experienced higher rates of cancer and reproductive disorders than the general population.Have we really forgotten all that?
  • No GMO's (genetically modified organisms), which is better for the health of the land as well as the people eating the food. Why? GMO food has been "modified" to resist pesticides that kills weeds and bugs, so the pesticide load is likely to be high, not to mention the issue of mutations in insect and plant life that adapt to the new conditions. 
  • Promotes local agriculture over agribiz.  Wouldn't you like to know where your food comes from? Smaller farms growing organic produce just makes more sense.  Get to know your local farmers, if you live in a productive area of the Country, and most areas are productive at least part of the year. Even if they don't grow purely organically, chances are they will uses fewer pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and if not, start pressuring them as consumers and neighbors.  Support your local food economy and it will support you.

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