Organic

 
vladimir-malyutin-105283-unsplash.jpg

My gods, if I had a dollar for every time I heard or read the word, "organic". We can't escape organic food; it's almost everywhere. And yet, organic farms only account for 6% of total agricultural output in the US (and that's a huge jump from where it was just a couple years ago!). But what is organic, and is it actually healthier for us and for the Earth?

 
usda-organic-food-label.jpg

human health

Organic refers to agricultural products produced without any contamination of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, growth regulators, livestock feeds, additives, or genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifies foods that are organic so long as the produce is grown in soil free of chemicals for 3 years, and processed foods that say "made with organic" must have at least 70% certified organic ingredients. So far, It has been proven that organic fruits and vegetables contain 20%-40% more antioxidants than their conventional versions, and higher iron and magnesium counts. But also think of it this way: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans now have an average of 43 different pesticides in their bloodstreams.

australia-irrigation.jpg

Environmental health

As far as environmental concerns, the chemicals and practices behind conventional farming pose a severe threat to soil contamination and loss of nutritional health, water contamination via runoff (which can boost the algae growth and deplete the water of oxygen for fish and other beings), deterrent and poison to wildlife including pollinators like bees, causes soil erosion from eliminating vegetation, and performs monoculture farming which eliminates biodiversity and thus, a now completely dead ecosystem. Organic meat comes from animals that are raised in living conditions that mimic their natural behaviors (think grazing on pastures), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not given antibiotics or hormones.