Saturday, September 01, 2007

September is National Organics Month

You hear a lot about organic food these days - buy organic produce, organic is better, we should eat organic. I think by now most people realize that organic foods are grown without pesticides, fertilizers or antibiotics. But I do not think most people realize that organic goes past this to include earth-friendly agricultural practices like crop rotation. By continually growing the same crop in the same field, you deplete the land of valuable nutrients. Rotating crops means literally doing just that. A specific crop is only grown on a plot of land and then not grown again for usually three years. In the alternate years, dissimilar crops are grown. This maintains nutrients in the soil and keeps pests and diseases to a minimum. Growing organic produce also is friendly to our water supply. Everything we put on the ground eventually ends up in our water supply. Yes, the earth acts as a natural filter but it can not filter out all the chemicals we add.

For products to carry the organic label, the farm just meet stringent standards. You can recognize organic produce by looking at the produce code. A 9 is placed in front of the conventionally grown code. So for example, the produce code for bananas is 4011 and organic bananas are coded 94011.

Besides reducing your exposure to toxins and heavy metals from the pesticides and fertilizers, organic produce is proven to contain more nutrients than conventionally grown produce. Studies have found that organic produce contains on average more than 50% more vitamins, minerals and flavonoids (antioxidant and cancer preventing properties) than conventionally grown produce. 50% - wow!!

Finally, I believe you can truly taste the difference between organic products and non-organic products. Some of the easiest to taste the difference with, and ones I would recommend, are eggs, chicken and fruit. Start small if you are not already buying organic products. Start by switching to organic eggs or organic carrots. By taking small steps and making slow changes over time, I think it is the easiest way to make lifestyle changes. I like the old Swahili saying: Kidogo kidogo hujaza kibaba (bit by bit we feel the pot).

1 comment:

Erin said...

I think you can taste a difference as well. I had organic red grapes all the last two weeks. Then, I got some non-organic grapes a couple of days ago. I swear they are not as good. Maybe it's crazy hormones, but I don't think so!