“Organic” is often a difficulty mystery to solve. There are so many factors to be conscious of when choosing organic that it often seems arbitrary or too much work. But, if families knew what we know about the differences between organic and conventional farming, they might think twice before deciding against organic.
The truth is that organic farming works with nature while conventional farming works against it. That results in the organic produce serving a higher purpose than just pleasing our taste buds; organic farming could potentially save the world. No, really!
The International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) sets forth the definition of organic produce, stating
“Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”
Many people are under the impression that the term “organic” refers mainly to pesticides and fertilizers on the produce itself, but from IFOAM’s definition we can see that the term organic covers much more than that. It includes the soil, ecosystems, and people involved.
Soil, Water, and Air
The importance of quality soil can often be overlooked, but in reality the nutrients in produce actually come from the soil that it is grown in. The main difference between conventional and organic farming in this aspect is that conventional farming practices utilize synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides to control the soil chemistry and to repel pests looking for a yummy snack. On the contrary, organic farmers use more sustainable means of controlling these, like planting certain crops together to work towards nourishing the soil and using insects like ladybugs to avoid pests.
While chemical pesticides harm the soil, and consequently the produce, they also harm the water and air. Conventional farming results in polluted water and air, while organic farming seeks to halt pollution.
All of these factors contribute to reduced biodiversity and dangerous chemicals in our food supply. Meanwhile, our earth is being polluted with dangerous chemicals that affect our health as well as the health of our families and other species around the world.
Control Over Our Food Supply
Family farmers are struggling to break even, and with the “Big Six” food companies making it easier for conventional farming to take the lead, organic farmers are falling behind. Unfortunately for our health and the health of our families and the earth, this could lead to big problems (like pollution and reduced biodiversity, as stated above). In addition, the Big Six food companies, Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Bayer, BASF & Dow, have made it difficult and in some areas illegal to use certain types of seeds for commercial food growth. Because of this, the Big Six control the market and can consequently sell any type of seed that they see fit, including Genetically Engineered and Genetically Modified ones.
So, next time you’re deciding between a conventional and an organic apple, think of this. You are making the choice to support one or the other, and your dollars are your vote. Organic is safer for the environment and for you.