Free from harmful synthetic chemicals, gentle to you and the earth, trusted time honored processes and traditions.
The term organic is thrown around pretty easily these days. But when we break it down, what does it actually mean for consumers, our environment and our future?
According to the USDA, which offers organic certifications in the United States, organic products “integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” And the the Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs tells us that, ‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation. Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control’.
On a day to day basis, how does that affect us? And how does it affect us long term? Let’s break it down.
While many consumers believe that organic means absolutely free of pesticides and fungicides, in fact there are over 20 chemicals approved for use in organic farming. The difference comes from that fact that these chemicals are naturally derived and lightly processed. Furthermore, organic farming also emphasizes weeding, targeted plowing, pheromone traps and habitats for predatory insects to naturally control pests that attack crops. For many people, this makes organic products friendlier to the environment and to human consumption. When trying to avoid harsh pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria organic is the answer!
Organic farming incorporates practices that promote environmentally sustainable practices like crop rotation (for ecological balance), cycling of natural resources and earth friendly growth practices. Purchasing products that support the time honored and trusted practices of cultures from all over the world ensures that our planet can sustain growth for years to come. Exhausting the earth, creating dust bowls where nothing will grow, is a very real possibility (and has happened in the past!) and the only way to avoid this is to adopt organic growing processes.
For animals this means they get at least 120 days of pasture time each year, and should always have access to the outdoors. This might seem like not a lot, but when you consider inclement weather and the changing seasons this definitely incorporates time for animals to be in their more natural habitats. Furthermore, absolutely no growth hormones or antibiotics can be used on animals. If an animal becomes sick antibiotics are allowed to be used for their well-being, but this disqualifies the animal from being labeled organic. If you’re concerned about the use of growth hormones or antibiotic use, there is only one way to be certain to avoid them: organic.
The use of GMO technology is controversial. Legitimate concerns about biodiversity, insect health and long term effects on both the planet and people have yet to be proven in the hearts and minds of many people across the world. While the process of genetically modifying DNA has happened for centuries upon centuries, products labeled as organic must be free DNA that has been edited in the laboratory to introduce a new species or “genetically superior” trait. This includes animals who must not be fed GMO crops.
It shouldn’t come as a shock, but conventional farming can use treated, sterilized municipal sewage for fertilizer. Sewage, besides human feces, could have any number of unknowns within it. Old medicines flushed down the toilet, harmful oils dumped into drains, and any number of components that can find its way into municipal drains. The only surefire way to avoid sewage being used as a fertilizer is to stay completely organic.
Giving consumers the choice to choose between organic and conventional empowers them to make the choices that are best for themselves, their families, their communities and the planet. Knowing what is going onto your skin, into your body and into your home is absolutely crucial for many consumers. Having the information to decide gives you the power to vote with your wallet!