Why Organic? A Case for Simple, Nutritious Food
Alex Green Farms produces only organic food. We're committed to this mission because organic food is not only wholesome and nourishing for the human body, but it's good for the environment as well. Learn more about why organic food is important and you'll want to commit to it like we have!
What Is Organic Food?
If you've gone shopping for organic food, you might have noticed that labels can be confusing. What are GMOs? Why should you care? To start interpreting labels and shopping for ingredients, it's helpful to know what organic food is and what that certain terms mean. Organically made produce means that the food was grown without the use of bioengineered genes (GMOs), synthetic pesticides, and sewage-based and petroleum-based fertilizers. Organic produce is grown using natural fertilizers and with natural pest-control methods.
What Makes Organic Food So Good for Us?
You might understand the appeal of naturally grown foods that avoid synthetic materials, but there are specific and strong health benefits to eating organic produce.
- You'll avoid pesticide residue. Chemicals used on produce always stick to some extent as a residue that ends up in your body when you eat non-organic fruits and vegetables.
- You'll have longer-lasting and fresher produce. This is true most of the time because your produce will likely have been grown nearby. In fact, if you buy from you local farmers' market, your food might have been harvested that morning! It doesn't get much fresher than that.
- Organic farming leads to a cleaner environment. Organic farming conserves water, reduces soil erosion, improves soil health and quality, lowers pollution levels, and is safer for nearby birds and wildlife that are harmed by the use of pesticides.
Are GMOs Unsafe for Humans?
GMOs are genes that have been engineered to have properties that couldn't occur in nature. For example, a lot of the sweet corn we consume has been engineered to produce its own insecticide and to resist herbicides like Roundup.
The Food and Drug Administration says that GMOs are safe. Those who are dubious point out that no long-term studies on their effects have been conducted. In fact, some animal studies have connected GMO consumption to organ damage, slowed brain growth, and digestive problems. Some people fear that GMOs could increase their cancer risk, but studies have not been conclusive.
Why Should I Avoid Pesticides?
The build-up of pesticide exposure over time is called a "body burden." Studies have shown that exposure to pesticides can lead to an increased risk of cancer. Children and fetuses are most vulnerable to harmful effects because pesticides can negatively impact development and the immune system.
What Organic Produce Should I Buy?
Organic food is more expensive than non-organic food, which means you might have to do some budgeting if you want to incorporate organic food into your diet. One way to make organic shopping affordable is to make sure you're buying the foods that matter most. Some foods have higher levels of pesticides than others, which means these are the foods that should go on your organic shopping list first. Foods not on this list are safer in their non-organic forms (though of course, organic is always best).
These foods have the highest pesticide levels, so you should buy organic when possible:
- Bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Summer squash
- Hot peppers
You can save more money by shopping around to compare prices and by buying produce in season. Prices are lower when produce is in season. Prices are also often lower at farmers' markets, and you could also find savings by joining a food co-op or CSA.