… continued from our previous post “Why Organics”
Organic farming prohibits the use of toxic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and climate-destabilizing chemical fertilizers. When we think about what that means to our families and the generations to come, we must make sound, caring choices. There are many discussions and differing opinions about the effect we humans have on climate. But if you ask anyone if we are all stewards of the earth, and have a responsibility to be mindful of that, they have to agree, we are. So, if there’s a choice to produce our food in a clean, healthy, sustainable way, how can we do otherwise?
Do you realize conventional foods allow nuclear irradiation? Organic food certification prohibits this. Food irradiation is the application of ionizing radiation to food from gamma rays and x-rays. As an example, we see much irradiation in the meat industry. We have seen too many cases of e-coli, salmonella, and fecal contamination in animal products coming out of the nation’s inhumane slaughterhouses. Very few cases of food poisoning have ever been linked to organic farms or food processors. If we know this, how will it affect your purchases? Consumers care about the humane treatment of animals. Organic farming, by law, prohibits chemical additives, medications and intensive confinement and mistreatment of farm animals.
Billions of pounds of toxic municipal sewage sludge are dumped as “fertilizer” on America’s conventional farms. Sewage sludge contains dangerous pathogens, toxic heavy metals, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals and other hazardous chemicals coming from residential drains, stormwater runoff, hospitals and industrial plants. Organic standards categorically prohibit use of sewage. Organic products are tested in the parts per billion for contaminants, heavy metals and pathogens.
OK, enough of the heavy stuff… let’s just sum up the safety issues up by thinking about the service and care we are giving to the world and future generations. An organic diet affords increased health and well-being for all of us, especially the little ones in the mother’s womb protected from chemicals.
Clean water – Vibrant Soil – Sustainable and renewable life force!
When we build a vibrant, living robust soil and plant that soil with symbiotic crops, methods and rotations, without pesticides and chemicals, our groundwater, lakes, streams and oceans are clean. We hold onto our topsoil with the sustenance of organic matter and the rotation of cover crops. One of the telltale signs of an organic field is the number of bees flying and swarming during the flower cycle. Natural habitat adjacent to farms are enhanced or suffer the consequence of our actions. The birds, wild animals and fish thrive in a clean environment.
Conventional farming is caught in a cycle – prepare and plant, maintain and spray, harvest and repeat until that ground is depleted and production moves to another piece of ground. Depletion and erosion of the soil creates a high risk of high-water runoff in wet years and dust and pollution in the dry cycles. Dust also carries negative organisms and insects.
Sustainable farming has been shown to reduce the use of fossil fuels and it makes sense. Production of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are fossil fuel based, not to mention the use of these fuels to produce these chemicals. Organic soils use water more efficiently and when the sustainable-renewable balance is achieved, production is much more efficient with a considerably reduced “footprint”.
If I can walk out onto a farm and pick fruit or a vegetable at the peak of ripeness… you got it, there is no better flavor! If you have never done that, believe me, it is not subjective! The sugars and flavors have had the time to build to the ultimate potential. So how do we get that experience, to the best of our ability to the end user? How can we maximize the freshness and flavor? With organic production we cannot chemically preserve, flavor or gas the products. The intensive agricultural management we use in the field, has to continue when the product is harvested and processed. We must thoughtfully process and efficiently post-harvest, to eliminate any contamination, while we maximize the color, taste and overall appearance. As with our spice products, there are no artificial flavors and additives, so we have to focus on maximizing the natural flavor.
Hopefully we all see the benefit of supporting the organic endeavor. The good news is the “bang for the buck” is obvious. The benefits and nourishment to our bodies, minds and souls is physical and emotional. To live, consume and move through this world in a mindful way is rewarding. Additionally, though, we see the positive effects in clean water, clean air and nature. We can go to sleep each night knowing we did our best for ourselves, family, neighbor and future generations to come.