What is organic food?
The term ‘organic food’ comes from organic farming which sustains the health of soil, ecosystem, and people. The key features of organic farming are to cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity and at the same time avoid using any sort of synthetic chemicals. The fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal are used for organic farming and the pests and weeds are also controlled in a natural and traditional manner, such as, by crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and naturally-derived pesticides. The same rule goes for organic livestock farming’s when domesticated animals raised for eggs, meat, and dairy products are fed all-organic and hormone-free foods. The regulations of organic farming may vary from country to county. In the USA, for instance, it’s mandatory to grow organic crops without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, or bioengineered genes (GMOs).
History of organic agriculture
The origin of organic agriculture is as ancient as the origin of agriculture itself. The first practice of agriculture is believed to have originated 10000 years ago and the traditional method of farming consisted of all the components of organic farming as we call it today. The whole concept of agriculture had seen a revolutionary change as a result of the industrial revolution. In the early 1900s, Sir Albert Howard, F.H. King, and Rudolf Steiner are some of the names who believed that the notion of organic agriculture with proper use of animal manures, cover crops, crop rotation, and biologically organized pest controls would result in a better farming system. Sir Alber Howard was highly inspired by the traditional farming practices he observed in India during his time as an agricultural researcher and He was convinced to implement their adoption in the West. F.H. King’s book Farmers of forty centuries played a pivotal role in reinforcing his ideas of soil fertility and the need for effective recycling of waste materials. In the early days of the organic movement which originated after the publications of books like The Living Soil (1943) and Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease (1945), people began to develop the idea of organic food being better and healthier than conventionally produced food. In the 1960s, the environmental damage caused by insecticides were highlighted in the publication of Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson which triggered the increasing demand for organic food. From the late 20th century sales of organic products started to increase gradually and in the later years, the growth of the organic sector had seen a huge boost as people worldwide became more concerned about the environment, and the health impacts of pesticide residue and consumption of genetically modified (GMO) crops. The revolution of the organic food sector resulted in a great increase in retail sales from $20.39 billion in 2008 to $47.9 billion in 2019, while sales in Europe significantly with a whopping $37 billion in 2017.
What are the benefits of organic foods?
There are lots of arguments over the claim of whether organic foods offer more benefits than regular foods. Well, there is very little scientific evidence to support the claim but regardless of the arguments, many people believe that consuming organic foods can have a huge impact on your mental health as well as the environment. Besides, organic foods offer relatively better nutrients than conventional foods which means people with food allergies get benefited from consuming organic foods. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of organic foods.
- A healthy life
Who does not want a healthy life? The question is rhetorical because everyone wants a healthy life. Organic foods contain no elements of toxic chemicals given the process of its organic farming which means your health is in a less risky position.
- Strong immune system
Covid-19 pandemic has once again exposed our weakness despite having been developed exceptionally in technology. Regular consumption of non-organic foods means you are indirectly consuming antibiotics, growth hormones, and vaccines which are used to the livestock of non-organic food sources. This process would result in a drastic effect on our immune system. Regular consumption of organic food guarantees that you are not exposed to an antibiotic, vaccine, hormones, and animal byproducts overdose and it makes your immune system stronger.
- Better tasting food
It’s natural that organic food tastes better than its counterpart because it develops and matures naturally. On conventional methods, foods’ natural growth is manipulated genetically with the use of chemical products which sees foods losing their natural taste. Organic farming ensures the real taste of a particular food.
- No Chemical pesticide consumption
Chemical pesticide consumption is responsible for causing numerous fatal diseases such as cancers, heart disease, and weakened immune systems. It can also cause digestive dysfunctions, headaches, and premature death. As organic farming involves no use of such chemicals, it would lessen the risk of getting those fatal diseases.
- Poison free
Pests control is one of the important parts of the conventional agriculture system and using different kinds of poisonous chemicals in order to repel pests can harm our health significantly. Chemical pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and artificial growth hormones are totally avoided in organic farming and therefore it offers no poisonous elements on our precious food whatsoever.
- Safe environment
Climate change and Global warming are no longer a myth or random internet hoax to scare people out, instead, the effects of climate change that scientists have been warning us for the last few decades are now actually happening. The claims that scientists had been making quite confidently regarding the rise of temperature are now proved to be true and should it continue like that, our existence on this planet would witness a huge threat, the future of mankind would be in jeopardy. Keeping our previous environment safe was one of the most important issues that helped organic farming become more popular in the initial periods. The conventional method of farming tends to use poisonous chemicals as pest control which leads to alarming environmental pollution. Organic food contains a great deal of environmental value and this is the only way to maintain our ecological balance, thus keeping our environment safe.
- Mental satisfaction
Doesn’t it bother you if your way of living or food habits may potentially destroy your environment and your planet? Apart from directly benefiting your health, consuming organic foods can give you substantial satisfaction by making you believe that you are associating yourself with a greater environmental purpose.
What kinds of fruits and vegetables are highly recommended to buy organic?
It’s no secret that organic foods cost significantly higher than regular non-organic foods. Sometimes we need to maintain our limited budget. It’s highly recommended to buy organic foods if you can afford them, but those who have a limited budget for their groceries can make some priorities about the food items which should be bought organic. Let’s take a look at some of the fruits and vegetables that are highly recommended by government pesticide testing in the U.S to buy organic.
Cucumbers, Celery, Potatoes, Apples, Sweet Bell, Peppers, Grapes, Cherry, Tomatoes, Kale/Collard, Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Hot Peppers Summer, Squash, and Peaches are some of the fruits and vegetables that you should always try to buy organic since they can have the height level of pesticides.
On the other hand, there are few fruits and vegetables such as Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Eggplant, Sweet Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Avocado, Mushrooms, Kiwi, Mango, Onion, Papaya, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Cantaloupe contains low levels of pesticide, and buying organic ones is optional.
Are there any disadvantages of organic food?
People often argue over the claim that organic food is better and healthier than conventionally processed foods, however, there is no notable scientifically proven evidence that would suggest any harmful effect of organic food. In terms of finance and other relevant issues, there are few drawbacks.
- Fewer nutritional items in some particular organic food items
There has been some speculation that some particular organic food items may contain less nutritional items than conventional foods. For instance, organic milk contains less iodine and selenium. The difference may seem less significant in terms of numbers, but still, it can be counted as a major drawback.
- Organic farming requires more time to produce
Given the method of organic farming, it’s obvious that the conventional method of farming takes less effort and more productivity. Taking more physical labour means more cost which may result in a less profitable project for some farmers.
- Organic foods cost more than conventionally processed foods
Organic food items are not affordable for everyone. The price tag they bear is totally worth it considering the huge ecological and health benefits they have, but still people with lower budgets struggle to cope with its huge cost. Besides, in some countries, even regular foods items are sold with the tag of organic food and sometimes it’s difficult to prove the authenticity when the system is corrupted.
Organic food is the future
Our planet is already overpopulated by its own standard. Keeping our environment safe and maintaining ecological balance to an optimum level, there is no alternative but to restrict our actions in order to stop pollution. In anticipation of a better future, organic farming offers more opportunities and possibilities. Organic food is not only the future of agriculture, it’s the future of mankind.