There is a growing trend worldwide towards organic foods and growing your own produce and the trend is increasing since 2020. While some consumers are making an effort to purchase high-quality organic foods, many are still wary about spending the extra money or taking the extra time to find such foods or grow these foods on their own. The next time you are at the grocery store and have the choice between organic and conventionally grown or raised items consider these key points. Also, when the number on the sticker starts with "9" it's organic; when it start with a "4" it is conventionally grown; when it starts with an "8" it is a GMO product.
The media generally reports that there is not a significant difference in nutrient values between organic and conventionally grown produce. This is virtually impossible if you consider what organic farming actually entails. Virginia Worthington MS, ScD, CNS compared organic and biodynamic crops to conventionally farmed crops.
She reviewed 1230 published comparisons between organically grown and conventionally grown crops. The results indicated that organic crops had higher nutrient levels and lower levels of toxicity in 56% of the comparisons while the conventional crop was better 37% of the time. While many of these studies showed that organic foods had more nutrients, it is interesting that such a high percent determined that conventionally grown crops were actually better. You need to look closely at these studies as you should with all studies for anything. The British Soil Association analyzed 109 studies on organic and conventionally raised foods. They determined that only 27 of these studies were valid comparisons—almost all of which found organic foods to be significantly better.
The nutrients generally mentioned when comparing conventionally grown and organic foods are primary essential nutrients such as water, fiber, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Among the differences sited between conventional and organic foods are notable differences in the amount of secondary nutrients. Other than primary essential nutrients, there are some 5,000 – 10,000 secondary compounds in plants. While secondary nutrients have not been classified as, or known to be essential for health, there is a wealth of information suggesting their numerous health benefits. The British Soil Associations “Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health” report alone sites 57 references supporting both increased levels of secondary nutrients in organic produce and their beneficial effects. Research from Copenhagen University suggests that organic food may be better at protecting us from cancer. Organic foods were found to contain high levels of a potent group of antioxidants called phenolic compounds—a group of secondary nutrients. According to the researchers, phenolic compounds are ten times more efficient at mopping up cancer-causing free radicals in the body than other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.
The beneficial effects of secondary nutrients is also well known among natural medicine doctors and practitioners. There are many doctors and healing clinics that include an organic diet in their treatment approach. The healing effects of these organic foods are associated with the superior secondary nutrient content and quality. Why wait until you are sick to consume high quality foods?
One of the largest studies on organic food, the Haughley Experiment, found that cows fed organic produce ate less, but consistently produced more milk. This is believed to be a result of the quality of protein in the grass. Protein is dependent on the range of amino acids composing it. Plant proteins may, or may not, contain certain amino acids that are essential to animal nutrition. Whether they do or not depends largely on the soil conditions in which the plant is grown. The plant is dependent on trace minerals—of which their availability is dependent on soil microorganisms. These essential micro-organisms are depleted as much as 85% in conventionally farmed soils, usually as a result of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and fungicides. The proteins in the plants growing in the depleted soil are thus inferior.
While there is much controversy in the professional and lay literature over the nutritional differences between organic and conventionally farmed produce, meats and poultry, one thing is indisputable, even under scientific scrutiny—organically raised foods are free from harmful chemical residues from commercial farming! That alone makes them worth the extra money they may cost and the time they may take to acquire. There is a mass of new information emerging implicating environmental pollutants, farming chemicals and food additives as the source of degenerative diseases, obesity, allergies and mental dysfunction.
Better for the Environment:
From the soil up, organic farming is better for the environment as a whole. It was the way we survived for thousands of years. Modern “advances” in farming such as, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, are destroying our soils which results in destruction of the plants, animals and ultimately humans dependent on them. There are numerous sources of information on the benefits of organic products. Here are just a few to check out. Remember, when you spend a bit more to buy organic, you are not only doing yourself a favor, you are helping improve the environment.
Some resources below:
The Life of a Jolly Green Giant Tomato
To give you a sample of what conventionally raised produce goes through, consider the tomato. The plant begins as a hybrid seed developed from a Mexican strain. This seed is planted in soil that was first fumigated with methyl bromide, an ozone depleter120 times more powerful than CFC-111—an already potent ozone depleter! Think about that next time you get a sunburn twice as fast as you did as little as 20-30 years ago. The plant is then treated with pesticides developed and manufactured by the Monsanto Corporation (they own Round-Up), one of the largest polluters in the world. The Mexican farm workers handling the tomato and his buddies are given no protection from pesticides used—no gloves, masks or safety instructions (this may have changed since this was written). The tomato is harvested when it is still green. It’s new home is on a plastic tray, covered in plastic wrap, packaged in cardboard boxes and distributed using refrigerated trucks throughout North America. The tomato, reddened using ether, is tasteless and with no nutritional value. That’s why it tastes like a sack of tasteless water."
The above article is from the CHEK Institute.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
More and more people have been starting their own gardens In lieu of lawns. This brings back the connection to themselves, the Earth and teaches their children how to grow their own food. I grew up helping my parents and grandparents with their gardens so we had food (my dad also hunted). Economically, this is better for saving money and teaches self responsibility and connection with the Earth. I never found the convenience of the grocery store convenient by the way. At first I did b/c I didn’t want to grow a garden. I used the excuse that I don’t have enough space, I don’t have time, etc... Where there is a will there is a way!
Just like making my own meals so I know how the meal was prepared and where everything came from, I'm going to grow my own garden starting this year. I have a small space and I have dogs! Some people would say screw it. All you have to do is be clever as to how, where and what you are going to grow. I have tons of big clay pots for certain veggies and herbs. I have a small flower garden that I’m going to rip up and place flowering herbs there and certain veggie plants. It will still have the look of a flower garden but I will learn how to dry these flowers and leaves and maybe make my own oil. Other herbs are helpers in a veggie garden.
I bought books on how to grow food in small spaces. If you are looking for an excuse not to grow your own food—don’t. Just like working out and eating better it first has to be a priority for you to do what it necessary. Let me tell you this is not going to be easy. This will be something new to learn which is exciting. Will it take up a lot of my time? Sure but I don’t do much anyway so I might as well do something that not only will improve my health but the health of the planet. It will also deepen my connection to self and to the Earth. It’s also a form of mediation. Remember, mediation does not have to look like what you think it is suppose to look like.
Growing your own food and sharing is a mediation. Just think about that for a moment. I grew so much food I'm overflowing and you willing share with others. Now look at it this way. I have filled myself so full of love and compassion that I'm overflowing and I willing share.