• Philippa Kartawick

Why I buy organic food and think you should too

Organic sustainable sistass!! (This is my sister picking up her weekly organic Riverford box, très excité! Organic food potentially has little to no extra nutritional benefits than conventional food does. However, buying organic is less about 'me me me' and more about ‘we', as a collective of beings, working together with nature. The WHO & UN define organic agriculture as a holistic system that "enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles & soil biological activity". The use of artificial chemicals, fertilisers & pesticides are severely restricted. GM materials are banned. Farms are inspected once a year. Your organic food will still have some pesticide residue mind, about 7% compared with the 38% comp conventional produce. What is worrying however, is that the jury is still out with regards to the safety of pesticides. One party i.e. the WHO say that ‘pesticides are potentially toxic to humans & can have both acute and chronic health effects’ whilst another party says that the risks are minimal. Despite decades of research, significant uncertainty regarding the safety of consuming pesticide laden food remains. So in my eyes, health wise, I would sooner be on the cautious side & buy organic food, but not lose sleep over eating non-organic produce. Regardless of organic/ conventional, is it with absolute certainty that eating a diet abundant in fruit & veg is always beneficial for your health.

But as with everything, choice is never just about you and your choice alone, because (as this current pandemic is proving) we are inherently connected. The health of your body is one thing, the health of the planet is another, and yet they are unequivocally connected. Tons of chemicals are dumped onto the soil and fields of conventionally grown food. This depletes the soil of it’s natural (and hugely important) minerals. B12 made from bacteria in healthy, mineral rich soil for instance, so back in the day, you could pick your soil laden mushrooms and get your B12 that way. But obviously with our mass modern population, harvesting, packaging and feeding a nation, makes eating unwashed (even organic veg) like this impossible (or arguably safe). Indeed eating cattle & chickens that munched on the soil loaded grass roots &/or pecked for worms in natural, mineral-rich soil, would get their B12 this way. If you’ve pillaged the soil of nutrients, where are your animals getting their goodness? They’re not. In short (and I will post specifically on each one of these throughout the lockdown), Organic farming conserves water, increases soil fertility and erosion, reduces pollution, uses less energy and works with (or at least affects least) the local wildlife. Because of this, I try to buy Organic as much as I can over conventional food.

However, again, as with all things, it is not black and white. Pesticides DO play a significant role in food production. 'They protect or increase yields and the number of times per year a crop can be grown on the same land. This is particularly important in countries that face food shortages' (WHO). So you have to keep it real. I wouldn’t say you were supporting particular communities by buying non-organic produce, but not seeing non-organic as evil & remaining level headed on things like GMO is important too (at least in my eyes). Buying local vs. buying organic is another food issue that you can read my thoughts on here.

But to draw this post to a close I will end with this: You can’t grown organic vegetables without cow shit.

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