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What Is Organic?

When most of us think about buying organic food, the first things that may come to mind are nutritious, tastier than conventional, better for the environment and maybe even expensive. But what does it mean to support the organic food industry? Is the buzz about eating organic really true?

organic seal

Per the USDA Consumer Brochure: “Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.” What this means in a nutshell, is organic farmers have moved on from wanting to make as much money as possible in as little time as possible, to growing nutritious, wholesome food the same as God intended. Organic food is tastier and is better for you because it contains less pesticide residues (organic produce samples had 13 percent versus 71 percent of conventional produce samples), AND is much, much more nutrient dense than its other conventional counterparts.

organic produce

Conventional Could Mean Genetically Modified

Conventional foods may be grown with the “anything goes” mentality, meaning they may use any means necessary to grow the food as fast as possible. In most cases conventionally grown food has been genetically modified to resist bugs, bacteria and pesticides used to control weeds. Read that sentence again. Some conventionally grown food has been modified at the genetic level to resist pesticide spray so that those farmers, no longer have to worry about killing their crop while spraying the entire field to control weed growth and insects. Some food such as strawberries, have been genetically modified to resist frost so they may be grown at all times of the year. Whatever happened to the days when you ate certain foods only while they were in season? Wikipedia gives the definition of pesticide as “a substance or mixture of substances used to kill a pest. A pesticide may be a chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest.” In this world, where we are adding pollutants and chemicals into our environment at an alarming rate, the last thing we should do is knowingly and willingly put chemicals or genetically modified foods into our bodies. God never intended for our bodies to process chemicals, so the more chemicals we eat, the more we store (in fat and other tissues) as they have no use on the inside.

“In most cases conventionally grown food has been genetically modified to resist bugs, bacteria and pesticides used to control weeds.”

Purchasing organic food (for you and your family) is one of the best decisions you can make in your life, but an even better decision would be to purchase organic products from your local farmers. A popular but now forgotten phrase used to be “Know your farmer, know your food”. Visit the Farmer’s Markets in your local area, talk to your farmer and ask them questions about their growing techniques. If they are unwilling to answer your questions then maybe you don’t need to be buying food from them. You wouldn’t buy a car from a salesman who wouldn’t talk to you, right? Your farmer should be more interested in cultivating and maintaining a relationship with you, rather than trying to make the most money they can. Most farmers I have met and spoke with here in the Triangle area are some of the nicest people I’ve met. They were more than willing to answer any questions I had and then some.
It may be more expensive to purchase organic but ask yourself this; would you rather spend the money now and live a longer, healthier and happier life, or spend the money later to pay for expensive medicines to treat avoidable aches, pains and illness?

Please stay tuned for my next blog about the truth behind free-range chicken and grass fed beef.