Organic Food: Good for Your Health, Good for the Environment

By Mark Fergusson
Chief Vegetarian Officer, Chief Executive Officer
Down to Earth ALL VEGETARIAN Organic & Natural

Honolulu, HI (March 21, 2012) – What is organic food and how does it help you improve your health and the environment?

The goal of organic agriculture is to produce foods using a natural and sustainable food production system that maintains our health as well as the health of soils and ecosystems. It does this by avoiding the use of harmful chemicals such as toxic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, and by prohibiting the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), toxic sludge, irradiation, or other production methods that are harmful for the environment.

The definition of organic food varies from country to country, as hundreds of organic standards have been developed worldwide since the 1940s. Some form of organic standard is enforced by over 60 governments worldwide. In most countries, falsely labelling non-organic foods as organic can result in significant fines and other penalties. The resulting “Organic” label gives us the opportunity and the choice to eat foods that are better for our bodies and the environment.

An Organic label indicates the particular food was grown naturally the way nature intended it. In the United States, for example, organic farmers don’t use synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones, antibiotics, sewage sludge, irradiation, or any genetically modified organisms. As a consumer look for the Organic label, and feel confident that stringent guidelines have been followed to bring the most wholesome natural products to the market.

Choosing organic food helps conserve the environment. For example, pesticides used in non-organic farming are wiping out entire species of beneficial insects, butterflies, and birds. On agricultural farms in the United States alone, it is estimated that about 672 million birds are affected by large amounts of pesticides, and about 10% of them die as a result of it. Meanwhile, the excessive use of chemical fertilisers on farms is contaminating the water supply through seepage into the water system and runoff from rainstorms.

The loss of soil fertility has also become a matter of concern due to chemical farming whereas organic farming involves production methods that help conserve soil fertility and biodiversity. The use of organic fertilisers, compost, mulches, and other organic matter preserves healthy soil by supporting microorganisms as well as earthworms and red worms that aerate the ground. While mulches and organic matter also minimise weed growth, multi-cropping, trap crops, and companion planting helps pest control. Organic farming also helps prevent soil erosion by disturbing less soil.

Organic farming uses ecological and biologically safe means to raise crops. By choosing organic food, you show that you prefer these environmental and sustainable systems while also improving your health. Love the body you live in while loving the environment too.