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The many benefits of going organic
All about organic
The organic craze has swept the world, appealing to the health-conscious and environmentalists.
Wikipedia defines organic as agriculture without fake fertilizer and pesticides, regulations, and additives... chemicals too. Instead, farmers rely on natural methods such as crop rotation, manure, and mechanical cultivation.
According to the international organic farming organisation IFOAM, organic agriculture should keep ecosystems and its organisms healthy.
Growing and eating organic, while expensive, is a great way to help preserve the earth in addition to one's own health.
Protect Your Progeny!
Kids are exposed to at least 8 cancer-causing pesticides 4 times as much as adults! Therefore, food choices can have a great impact.
The Soil Conservation Service estimates that more than 3 billion tons of topsoil erode from U.S. croplands yearly, so soil erodes 7 times faster than it naturally builds. This is the worst rate ever! Soil is what keeps plants growing correctly.
Humans are made of 2/3 water, and the earth is 3/4 of it too. The EPA estimates that 38 states have groundwater polluted by pesticides, meaning half the nation drinks polluted water.
Today's farming uses more petroleum than other industries, and 12 percent of America's total energy stores. It takes more energy to create synthetic fertilizers than tilling, cultivating, and harvesting all U.S. crops! Meanwhile, farmily organically means using labor-intensive and natural methods. It also means less work and steps from the farm to the home.
Fewer Dangers to Health
Unfortunately, a lot of pesticides were approved by the EPA before much research was done about the link to them and cancer. Today, the organization says 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides are cancer-causing. The National Academy of Sciences said in 1987 that pesticides may cause 1.4 million additional cases of cancer in the United States. They may also cause birth and nerve defects as well as genetic mutation.
Protect Farm Workers!
A study by the Natural Cancer Institute found that farmers who come in contact with herbicides are 6 times more likely to get cancer. Pesticide poisonings in California have increased 14 percent since 1973, doubling in the next 10 years. Field workers have more occupational illnesses. Developing countries show the worst rates. A million people suffer from pesticide poisoning annually, and many pesticides banned in the U.S. are exported to other nations.
Give Family Farms a Boost
While a lot of larger farms are going organic, most organic farms remain small and independent, standing on less than 100 acres. It is said tha tin the U.S., 650,000 family farms have disappeared in the last 10 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that half of the nation's farming could come from only a percent of farms in the near future, so organic could be the one last hope for family farms.
Support a True Economy
Though it may appear that organic is more expensive, conventional farming actually includes costs like $74 billion of federal subsidies (1988), testing, disposal and clean-up, and damage control for pesticide use.
Monocropping is planting big patches of land with the same crop yearly. This means a lack of diversity of plants in the soil, so it lacks vital nutrients and minerals. Therefore, chemical fertilizers are used to replace them. Ew.
Why do chefs go organic? It tastes better! Natural nutrients in soil means natural plant growth and development, which means better taste.
- More than 100 nations practice organic farming, and more than 24 million hectares are organically managed.
- Internationally, the organic market increased to $23 billion by 2002, mostly due to higher demand in North America. Consumer demand continues to rise.
- Almost 20,000 natural-food stores and 73 traditional ones feature organic items, making for nearly 2 percent of all food sales in the United States.
- 12,200 American farmers are certified organic.
- 39 percent of the U.S. uses organic items.
Sources include The World of Organic Agriculture 2004-Statistics and Future Prospects, Organic Monitor, USDA's Economic Research Service, The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) and SPINS, The Rodale Institute, and eBrain Market Research.