Not Yet Convinced to Go Organic?

Posted on October 23, 2009

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For at least a decade now I have favored organic foods. Fortunately in that time I have seen the availability of organic food increase dramatically and the prices of organic food drop considerably. Some organic foods are now the same price as their industrially farmed counterparts. Good news for those on the organic bandwagon.

But so many are still skeptical. Are pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides really bad for us? Wouldn’t the government protect us?
Well, the answer is, probably not. There and many interests at work and the history of industrial farming and its rise to power is a long and complex one. At one time it may have been necessary and the ill effects were difficult to forsee. Now, however, it’s more an issue of corporate interests on a large scale, and simple habit on a smaller scale – individual farmers and other food producers. The behind the scenes story is crystal clear and wonderfully readable in two books I’ve been reading lately by Michael Pollan; The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food – An Eaters Manifesto. (Pollan also appears in the worthwhile documentary Food Inc.)The science is unequivocal, many agrochemicals are bad for us, but how bad and how to regulate them is the issue. And like any consumer issue it is moderated by huge financial interests. A great source for the latest on agrochemicals, scientific studies, and regulatory back-and-forth is the Environmental Working Group website.

With or without the pesticide argument, the more recent news is that organics, both vegetable and animal, contain higher levels of most nutrients. This was heavily disputed in the past from both sides of the fence since, well, the exact chemical composition of a given natural food is highly variable and the essentiality of certain nutrients was at issue. For example polyphenols, polysaccharides, EFA’s including omega3’s; just some of the nutrients whose great importance have been only recently brought to light. Many small scale comparisons had been done and the anecdotal and empirical evidence was strong. Historically, communities changing to industrially farmed foods for reasons other that food shortage or famine consistently suffer radical health consequences. Not to mention the common opinion that organic food is simply more color, flavor, and texture dense – a good general indicator of superior nutritional value.

With a recently completed $25million European Community study the preponderance or good evidence lies firmly with the organic side. And here are a few other good articles revealed with a very quick internet search. 1/
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Lastly, it’s up to all of us to ask for more organic food options. Educating others by example and making organics more available in stores improves everyone’s health and improves the environment.

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