Is Organic Food Really Better For The Environment?
I eat a lot of organic food. In fact, about 80% of the food that goes into my body is organic. I cannot tell you how many times I get teased about eating “dirt” from many of my friends, and even my family. A friend recently quizzed me about my reasons for eating organic. I claimed that one of the reasons I opt for organic food is for environmental reasons and my friend gave me the most flabbergasted look on the planet. He flat out refused to believe that organic food is more environmentally sound than “normal” food. This set me on a quest to defend my position that organic food is better for the environment. So here are the top three environmentally based reasons I choose to eat organic food:
1) Organic farming practices can help decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. According to The Rodale Institute, each acre devoted to organic farming can remove and store around 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year. That means if we were to convert all 434 million acres of farmland in the U.S. to organic farmlands, it would be the equivalent to getting rid of 217 million cars, which is about 1/3 of the automobiles in the world, according to the Organic Trade Association .
2) Organic farming uses less energy. According to the same study, organic farming practices use 30% less energy, less water, and obviously no pesticides. Think of all the energy that goes into the production and transportation of pesticides and fertilizer. Getting rid of the pesticides is not only good for the body, it’s good for the environment as well! I’ve also seen other less stringent studies concluding up to 50% less energy use with organic farming practices. Also, organic farmed produce are often more locally dispersed than conventionally farmed produce.
3) Organic farming helps the soil. Organic farming reduces groundwater pollution by foregoing pesticides. During conventional farming pesticides enter our water sources and then end up in our homes and our bodies. Pesticides also add to soil erosion, destroying the vitality and productivity of the soil. The USDA Agricultural Research Service conducted a study, which showed that “Organic farming can build up soil organic matter better than conventional no-till farming can” (Find it here). In the follow-up study they found more carbon and nitrogen in organic farmland than conventional farmland. They also found that over time organic farming produced 18% more corn.
If that isn’t enough reason to start eating organically, then try this: Go buy an organic orange and a regular orange from the grocery store. Peel them, then look at your hands. If your grocery store is anything like mine, you can see and feel the difference just from peeling them. That alone was is a testament to me of what conventional farming is putting on my food and in my soil.
Don’t forget that these principles do not only apply to food, but to all products. Use organic skin care and cleaning products for the same reasons. Don’t short-change the earth for the sake of your wallet or convenience. You can still be clean and beautiful with organic products.