Making the commitment to organic food hardly means a sacrifice. The benefit to your personal health is just the start. Here are 13 reasons that take you far beyond the standard ones you most likely already have heard.
1. Stringent Standards
The “Organic” certification you see on a product means that it has been grown, processed and handled according to strict guidelines and procedures – at the highest level it means it contains no toxic chemicals. The federal government set standards for the production, processing and certification of organic food in the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (OFPA).
2. Free of Genetic Modification
Organic food cannot be grown using genetically engineered seeds. Why would a seed be genetically altered? Our most common crops – corn, soy, cotton and canola – are often sprayed with heavy doses of pesticides that would otherwise even be damaging to the crops if their genetic structure had not been engineered to withstand these chemical substances.
3. Better for the Soil
Organic farming returns nourishment to the soil, which in turn creates better conditions for crops to thrive during droughts. Healthy soil acts much like a sponge and filter, so it helps to clean the water passing through it. Organically treated soil also traps carbon – and less of it in our atmosphere means fewer effects from climate change.
4. Better for the Water
Organic food is grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, which can be leached from the soil and end up in water supplies.
5. Innovative Research
Mostly at their own expense, organic produce growers have paved the way with innovative research that has created ways to reduce our dependence on pesticides and chemical fertilizers – both often byproducts of fossil fuels. They also have led the way in developing more energy efficient ways of farming.
6. Increases Biodiversity
For decades now, organic farmers have been collecting and preserving seeds – as well as reintroducing rare or unusual varieties of fruits and vegetables. It is mostly thanks to organic farmers that a large selection of heirloom tomatoes has become a common occurrence in grocery stores.
7. Increases Consumer Choices
Thanks to organic farmers, nearly every food category offers an organic alternative. That has even extended into textiles. You can now sleep on sheets and wear clothes made of organic cotton.
8. Harmonious with Nature
The organic philosophy of growing believes that wildlife is integral to a farm. Organic farms do not displace wildlife – they embrace it.
9. Protects Family Farms and Rural Communities
As U.S. farm production continues to consolidate, small family farms are in danger of disappearing. With its higher profit margins, organic farming may be one way for family-owned farms to thrive – and in turn, revive dying rural communities.
10. Fresher, Better Tasting
There’s no argument that fresh food tastes better. Organic food often is fresher because is more perishable and has a shorter shelf life.
11. Part of Your Community
Because organic food contains no preservatives and must be consumed quickly, it often is sold to grocery stores nearby. Chances are, if you eat an organic vegetable or fruit, you wouldn’t have to travel far to visit where it was grown.
12. Sustainable Seafood Choices
Visiting organic markets allows you to purchase seafood that is still abundant and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.
13. Safer and More Humane Animal Products.
Organically raised animals are not fed animal byproducts, or given antibiotics and growth hormones. And to increase their health, they’re given more room to move as well as access to a natural outside environment. Crowded living conditions are a leading cause of animal sickness and suffering.