What I like the most about organic farming is that it strives to work with Mother Nature, who I think in her wisdom is infinitely smarter than we are. I like that organic farming takes responsibility for what it does to the soil, water, air and earth. I like that organic farming looks beyond the benefit of one or a few and instead takes the biggest picture into account. I like that organic farming is about creating healthy soil to create healthy plants and animals to create healthy me and you. And I like that organic farming grows food for people that isn’t also poisoning them.
It baffles me why people give organic so much stick. I continue to be naïve enough to believe that if you try to do something good, that of course everyone will support you.
What is organic farming?
Unlike any other form of agriculture, around the world, organic farming is strictly regulated. Foods labeled as organic must meet published standards and pass inspections – at the farm, in the factory and in the shop. As EU guidelines state, organic farming systems strive ‘to minimize the human impact on the environment, while ensuring the agricultural system operates as naturally as possible’.
Organic farming is based on the following:
- choosing plants and animals that are resistant to disease
- choosing plants and animals that are used to local conditions
- crop rotation
- very strict limits on chemical synthetic pesticide use
- very strict limits on synthetic fertilizer use
Organic food is healthier.
For years, we at Planet Organic have believed that organic is healthier. It was proven a while ago that organic is better for the soil and biodiversity – the degree of variation of life. So it follows that if organic is better for nature, then it is better for us. But the topic has been hotly debated for years.
However, the largest peer-reviewed study to date has just been completed and published in the British Journal of Nutrition in July 2014. It shows that organic crops are much more nutritious than non-organic and contain lower levels of pesticide residues and cadmium, a toxic heavy metal.
The study states the following:
- the quality of our food is affected by the method of production
- organic foods have more desirable attributes and less harmful aspects
- organic foods deliver health benefits including potential protection against problems like cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancers and diabetes
- eating organic food means less eating fewer synthetic pesticide residues
Organic cereals, vegetables, fruits and processed foods such as baby foods, bread and juices have high concentrations of antioxidants and (poly)phenolics. When you compare organic and non-organic equivalents, organic has more phenolic acids (19% higher), flavanones (69% higher), stilbenes (28% higher), flavones (26% higher), flavonols (50% higher) and anthocyanines (51% higher).
You don’t need to know what all of these mean, but know that it’s a pile of information that has enabled scientists to make these statements. All you really need to know is that if you switched to eating these organic foods, your antioxidant/(poly)phenolic intake would increase by between 20 and 40% - and up to 70% for some compounds. And that’s a good thing.
The results of the study are from an analysis of 343 peer-reviewed publications based on organic crops, fruits and vegetables. We have never had such a vast amount of data showing that organic food is healthier for you. And while to us the benefits of organic are intuitive, it is quite satisfying to have been proven right.