Organic food has become more popular lately because of public pressure and awareness of environmental issues. More people are aware of the impact of commercial farming on the environment. A growing number of people are looking for ways to eat healthier and live healthier. While traditionally farmers were given free reign to use pesticides and other chemicals on their crops, most modern organic farms stick to stricter regulations. The primary reason behind this is to ensure good quality, produce higher yields, and promote a sustainable industry.
Organic food is typically food produced using methods conforming to the guidelines of organic agriculture. Organic farming is a collective term for practices aiming to promote sustainable development of plant life, the environment, and human health. Organic standards differ globally, but organic agriculture typically involves practices that cycle natural resources, preserve biodiversity, ensure ecological balance, conserve heat and light, and protect the soil. Some of the most important requirements of an organic garden are:
Because organic foods have a higher risk of becoming contaminated than conventionally grown foods, they tend to be more expensive. Organic food is priced slightly higher than conventionally grown produce. This price difference is generally between five percent and ten percent. Demand for organic foods is increasing due to consumers’ concerns about the growing number of synthetic chemicals being used in conventional farming, and the increased costs of conventional products.
Organic food needs a higher proportion of certified organic ingredients. In addition to the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, conventional farming also uses antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals. These compounds are absorbed into the soil and can contaminate water sources and the air. The residue of these chemicals can then seep into the ground and ultimately into the produce in your food. Organic farmers substitute synthetic pesticides and chemicals with natural ones, or they use materials such as manure or compost to help prevent soil contamination. They also do not use pesticides or other chemicals to protect their crops from pests or to encourage soil growth.
Organic food products require the most supplementation. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables only need a minimum amount of vitamins and minerals to grow optimally. But conventional farming methods don’t allow for the high level of nutrients in the soil, which is necessary for healthy, complete, rich-nutrient fruits and vegetables. Since organic farms are trying to mimic the benefits of natural soil, the lack of these essential nutrients in conventionally grown produce can make it more difficult to digest. And some of the depleted nutrients end up in the produce, affecting its texture and flavor.
Organic food products also need more vitamin and mineral supplementation. For example, the absence of certain nutrients in conventionally raised animals (such as calcium) makes it difficult for the animals to produce healthy meat. Even the best organic meat has relatively low fat content, since fats in conventionally raised meat are concentrated in the leanest parts of the animal, making it more difficult to process. The presence of natural fats in organic meats can improve its flavor, texture and overall health.
Organic food companies use a variety of technologies to reduce the amount of chemicals used. Many organic foods use biotechnology to control both the growth and the feeding of the animals. In organic meat production, hormone levels are regulated to control growth and development; antibiotics are used to prevent bacterial contamination; and various fertilizers and pesticides are used to keep pests and diseases from growing in the fields. Moreover, these companies handle the entire supply chain from farm to market, ensuring that all the products are thoroughly tested and meeting strict quality standards. For example, farmers must submit detailed records detailing each stage of the growing and processing of the product to prove that the farmer did not introduce any trans-genic plant pollen or contaminated seed during the growing process. This ensures that the product does not have any potential environmental hazards.
Most of the food we consume every day is contaminated with one or more forms of insect larva, bacteria, parasites or other types of organisms. Ingesting these tiny bugs can pass on harmful germs, chemicals and parasites into our system, affecting our nervous system and the way we think. Although synthetic hormones cannot cross the placental barrier, they can still be passed on from mother to child via breast milk and other products of reproduction. The chemicals used in conventional production processes can enter the water we drink, soil in which the crop is grown and wildlife that might eat or drink the product. Organic production relies on practices such as mass spraying for insect larva, eliminating potentially risky crops (such as Bt foods) and using non-GMO products whenever possible.