Everywhere you shop for farmed food, you have a choice: buy organic or non-organic. Shoppers tend to reach for the less expensive item, regardless of the designation. But you’ve probably heard neighbors, family, and friends mention that shop exclusively for organic food. You may have also heard reports that organic and non-organic foods are more alike than scientists and holistic experts say. Is there really a difference between organic and non-organic foods?
The answer’s less complicated than you think. The most obvious difference between organic and non-organic foods is the way they’re farmed. Non-organic foods are frequently exposed to GMOs, toxic pesticides, and antibiotics that can be harmful to your health. Organic farmers take a more natural approach to growing foods, strongly reducing the risk that you and your family are exposed to these toxins.
Eating organic is especially important for children, who’ve been found to have much lower levels of metabolites of high risk insecticides in their bodies when fed organic diets. Kids tend to eat predominantly more of a specific food like apples and bananas, so you want to make sure the food they’re eating in high quantities is high quality. For pregnant mothers, studies have shown that pesticides can actually impact your future child’s IQ. Organic foods have also been shown to have a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for your heart).
There are around 15,000 organic farmers across the US. Organic farming doesn’t just produce food with fewer toxins. It’s also more friendly to the environment than the way traditional farming has evolved. Organic farming is different from most farming practices across the country for reasons like:
- It saves water. Organic farms use water more efficiently than traditional irrigation farms. In the face of nationwide droughts, this is a major benefit to the environment that’ll pay off dividends for future generation.
- It creates healthier soil. Things like chemical fertilizer dependency create a staggering loss of healthy topsoil in the US every year. Organic farmers use little to no tilling, which helps promote healthier soil for future generations.
- It’s good for biodiversity. To account for avoiding pesticides, organic farmers create and maintain a habitat for an array of different insects and vertebrates. This is a big win for the environment.
Coupled with the health benefits of eating organic, these ecological advantages show why organic food is an industry worth supporting!