As consumers are becoming more environmentally aware the trend for all natural, environmentally friendly and sustainable products is definitely on the rise. One of the biggest ones relates to something that is intimately close to all of our lives, and that is the food that we eat. I’ve been aware of organic produce, meats and packaged goods for a long time now, and yet never really /considered/ them before. They always existed in the back of my mind as something that somebody /else/ would buy, kind of like “the expensive version of regular food.” See organifi green juice reviews
As I’ve taken steps to embrace natural, healthy living and made changes in my overall lifestyle I’ve reached the point where it’s time to think about organics and why buying them is the right thing to do overall.
What Does Organic Mean?
Before I researched it, I didn’t really know what organic actually /meant./ Everything’s organic, right? It’s kind of a perquisite to being an “organism” or life form. Not so. Turns out when it comes to our food the word is much more specific. Beginning back in 1960 with the publication of “Silent Spring” a movement began towards the practice of growing foods naturally, without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and also using sustainable energy practices (ie, not gasoline and other limited fossil fuels.) This went on until 1990 when the government stepped in, passing the Organic Foods Production Act to set some standard by which anything labeled as “organic” has to abide. This way, people could get a basic idea of what they were buying when they purchased organic foods.
While there are actually several different classifications of organic foods, the general term has come to have several typical associations. As I mentioned before, no pesticides, herbicides or chemicals are used in any part of the growing process. In addition to being chemical-free, organic produce must be grown in a way that is natural and sustainable. This means harkening back to the growing practices of old, such as crop rotation and cover crops to ensure the fertility of fields, with an overall mentality of care and consideration towards the earth and quality of the food being grown. If natural manure is used as a form of fertilizer it must be applied at least four months prior to harvesting if it is not aged. Using composted plant material is common.
Additionally, organic farmers do not grow or use any kind of genetically modified organism, such as the Round Up resistant strain of soybean developed by Monsanto. Organic livestock farmers must also feed their animals exclusively organic feed for the duration of their life, though it is interesting to note that the organic certification does not include the manner in which the animals are raised. Livestock can still be raised inhumanely using feedlots or other animal confinement techniques, and still be considered organic.
The USDA utilizes several different labels for organic foods – the three main ones being “100% Organic”, “Organic” and “Made With Organic Ingredients.” The first is of course exactly what it sounds like: everything in the product was completely organic as defined above; the second, simple “Organic” means the product contains 95 – 99% organic ingredients, with the remaining ingredients being approved by the NOP. Food “Made With Organic Ingredients” uses anywhere from 70 – 94% organic ingredients, and may list three on the front packaging. So in general, look for and buy 100% Organic whenever you can, opting for plain Organic labels when nothing else is available.
Buying organic supports a natural food industry, which cares more about the quality of the food that they produce and the overall health of their customers than they do about turning an ever-increasing profit at our expense. While it may cost a little more up front, it is an infinitely greater savings overall when you consider your overall health and well being, and the health of the planet as well.
This article is part of an ongoing series entitled “Transitioning to Organic” that provides tips, information and easy ways to adopt some or all organic food into your lifestyle.