What do you mean by organic? I’m not sure if it is a term we have come to understand often enough or if it is a term that is being chosen merely by those who benefit most from the label, by those who sell the products, and by those who educate those who are uninitiated. For some it may simply be a synonym for ‘homemade’ or ‘organic.’ But for the majority, including myself, the use of the word ‘organic’ as in ‘grown naturally’ or as in ‘tainer certified’ indicates that the food item in question has been grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides and that the grower is certified by a qualified organization as having adhered to strict organic gardening rules and practices. It is our contention that the organic definition of the word should be more accurately worded as ‘natural farming’ or ‘homegrown food.’
In order to meet the definition, an item cannot be grown with the use of synthetic chemicals in the soil or environment. Instead, it must be grown with natural compost, manure, and insects to feed on. A truly organic food producer does not use any artificial substances in their growing process and no mineral or chemical additives. Instead they make sure that they are using the most effective growing methods available to ensure the best possible health and quality of the food they produce.
One of the most popular misconceptions about organic farming is that all products are guaranteed to be safe and healthy. That is simply untrue! In fact, there is a great deal of information available to consumers interested in making the switch to organic. The truth is that the most significant differences between organic and conventional farming can be found in how the fertilizer and pest control are used as well as the source of the food (i.e., wheat, corn, soybeans, or other non-food crops).
Due to the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in conventional agriculture, the chemicals contained in these products leach into the water, polluting lakes, and streams and threatening the health of water-users. When it comes to organic products, farmers often rotate crops so that the chemicals and residues are not concentrated in a certain area. Also, some farmers use materials such as straw, alfalfa, or wool, which are non-chemical alternatives to the chemicals and pesticides typically used in producing these products.
There is even some speculation as to whether organic foods may be better for your health. While the effects of exposure to pesticides and fertilizers may be somewhat less than those caused by eating produce grown with the aid of chemicals, there is no clear-cut answer as to whether or not organic is better for your body. What we do know is that organic farming is generally more productive and yields a higher crop.
Another common myth regarding organic farming is that farmers who practice it are more dedicated to their family farms and produce. This is because organic farmers must travel great distances to bring their products to market. As a result, they put more time and effort into their crops, which translates to more profits for the farmer. Additionally, since organic farming relies on community gardens and conservation gardens, many of these farmers can actually see firsthand how their decisions affect the local community.
The fourth myth that you have to know about organic foods is that they are expensive. Again, this could not be further from the truth. Most organic fruits and vegetables are priced at or below the same level of regular produce. Many grocery stores even carry organic foods, which enable consumers to easily recognize a product that uses sustainable farming methods.
What do you mean by organic? In essence, it’s a method of agriculture that promotes the efficient use of natural resources, protects the environment, and makes farmers, consumers, and whole communities healthier and wealthier. While organic foods may take a bit of investment, they ultimately prove to be a sound investment over the long run.