WATCH YOUR MOUTH! 10 facts about organic farming (and eating.)

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I was walking around and chomping on a “pink lady” in LA today, looking for a bigger space to make our kombucha and for a little blog-inspiration (sorry I haven’t been here in a while I was off getting hitched!), when a man somewhere in his 40’s started a conversation with me. Dressed in scrubs and a white coat that labeled him “urologist,” I assumed he was a…er…urologist (I know, I’m a rocket scientist.) He asked, “you don’t really believe in that stuff, do you?,” as he pointed to my re-usable bag that said EAT ORGANIC. “IT’s all a bunch of horse-dung, and a marketing ploy that the companies use to get ladies like you to pay $5 for that apple.” This isn’t the first time I’ve sensed energy around the topic of organic, so I’d like to discuss this today.

While there is SOME evidence supporting that ingestion of organic food is “better” for you, it’s not exactly robust yet. So, you have a good amount of folks that are still nay-sayers. That said, if you’re anything like me and thousands of others, you don’t HAVE to wait for science to tell you what to do. Actually, YOU DO have a choice (and a mind by the way.) I ask you to ask yourself what YOU think as you read this…

ORGANIC FARM AND FOOD, some facts.

1.       Organic farmers must engage in soil building practices (such as crop rotating) in order to create a ground that is rich in natural flora and nutrients. These soils are more stable and need less fertilizer.

2.       If needed, organic farmers are only allowed to use organic fertilizers (think compost), which don’t pollute the groundwater. Groundwater pollution caused by synthetic fertilizers is a very big and expensive problem, and countries like France and Germany are close to outlawing it.

3.       Organic farms are not using chemicals that require large fossil fuel support, so this kind of farming significantly reduces its eaters’ carbon foot-print.

4.       A recent meta-analysis of over 700 papers  showed that organic farms produced more biodiversity than non-organic, meaning more organisms and plants want to grow there. Rahmann et al.

5.       Organic farms are strictly prohibited from using genetically modified foods in ANY part of their production.

6.        Organic farmers must abide by all the same safety laws of normal food production (CODEX and HACCP), and there is no evidence (or good ground) that eating organic will increase your exposure to contaminants.

7.       Working on an organic farm exposes you to less chemicals than on a conventional farm.

8.       There is a government document that ranks the amount of pesticide residue on conventional foods by the time they reach your table.  By simply choosing to buy organic in the top 12 food categories on this list, you will reduce your exposure to these chemicals by an estimated 80%. 

·         Those “dirty dozen”  for this year are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale.

9.       Organic foods are prohibited from using almost all additives, colorings, and preservatives, unless they are naturally occurring (like lemon juice.)

10.   Organic farmers of meats and cheeses are not allowed to use hormones, antibiotics, or synthetic chemicals when raising their livestock. Studies have shown these meats have higher levels of nutrients, including vitamin E and omega-3 (consumer reports, 2007.)

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When I look at these 10 facts—and I imagine the impact on the environment, the animals, and me—I personally see what I like to call a “no-brainer” choice here. Sure, we can wait around for decades for the studies to show that perverting our soils will in turn pervert our plants and animals which will in turn pervert us, but I think I’m going to rely on my noggin’ here instead. So—to the gentleman who quite aggressively interrupted my gander in the street—Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll keep eating this apple, thank you very much. And, it wasn’t 5 dollars…it was 2.  :)

grandma_____________________________

Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

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