Organic farming refers to the agricultural production systems that are used to produce food and fiber. Organic farmers don’t use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Instead, they rely on biological diversity in the field to naturally reduce habitat for pest organisms. Organic farmers also purposefully maintain and replenish the fertility of the soil.
Benefits of Organic Food:
Organic foods provide a variety of benefits. Some studies show that organic foods have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts. In addition, people with allergies to foods, chemicals or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic food.
- Organic food is often fresher. Fresh food tastes better. Organic food is usually fresher when eaten because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer.
- Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution (air, water, soil), conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. In addition, organic farming is better for birds and small animals, since chemical pesticides can make it hard for birds and small animals to reproduce and can even kill them. It is also better for the people who harvest our food.
Why do pesticides matter?
- Children and fetuses are most vulnerable to pesticide exposure due to their less-developed immune systems and because their bodies and brains are still developing. Exposure at an early age can cause developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction.
- Pregnant women are more vulnerable due to the added stress pesticides put on their already taxed organs. Plus pesticides can be passed from mother to child in the womb, as well as through breast milk. Some exposures can cause delayed effects on the nervous system, even years after the initial exposure.
- Most of us have an accumulated build-up of pesticide exposure in our bodies due to numerous years of exposure. This chemical "body burden," as it is medically known, could lead to health issues such as headaches, birth defects, and added strain on weakened immune systems.
Difference between Organic vs. Non-organic Produce:
- Grown with natural fertilizers (manure, compost).
- Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling).
- Insects are controlled using natural methods (birds, good insects, traps).
Conventionally grown produce:
- Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
- Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides.
- Insecticides are used to manage pests and disease.