Why Buy Organic?
Updated: Jun 18
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Organic food is food that is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. It is also food that is not processed with preservatives, irradiation, or genetically modified ingredients.
The benefits of eating organic food are numerous. Organically grown foods have been shown to have more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than conventionally grown foods. They are also free of harmful chemicals and pollutants that can be detrimental to your health.
Eating organic food is not only good for your health, but it is also good for the environment. Organic farming practices help to preserve water and soil resources. They also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote wildlife habitat.
If you are looking for reasons to start eating organic food, then read on!
Where we live in West Tennessee, we are surrounded by commercially farmed fields. We have a small plot that on 3 sides is bordered by commercially farmed corn/soy fields. Every year, I watch them rotate the crops, corn, soy, corn, soy, with an occasional planting of winter wheat as a cover crop in the winter. As I sit here typing, I’m watching the corn get sprayed with what I can only assume is roundup or glyphosate.
Non-organic food is most often sprayed with chemical pesticides. This is a flaw of our food system at large, which relies on commercial single-crop farming. Growing one crop at a time leaves it more vulnerable to pests than if it was planted in a diverse garden with a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. On a small scale (a backyard garden), this looks like companion planting. On a large commercial scale, this is called regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture “nurtures and restores soil health, protects the climate and water resources and biodiversity, and enhances farms' productivity and profitability.”
Why are herbicides and pesticides bad?
Commercially farmed food is most commonly sprayed with roundup, glyphosate, or another herbicide or pesticide. Crops are genetically modified to withstand harsh chemicals, while insects and weeds die all around them.
Glyphosate is the most common herbicide in the U.S.
A recent study in 2022 found that 80%-90% of our foods contain traces of glyphosate in them!
Glyphosate can not just be washed off, as plants absorb it. Glyphosate is toxic to both the environment and human bodies. It disrupts neurotransmission and causes oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and mitochondrial damage. All of this leads to negative effects including autophagy, necrosis, apoptosis, plus behavioral and motor problems. Bottom line? Don't mess with glyphosate!
Why are genetically modified (GMO) crops bad?
The main reason I avoid GMO foods is the fact that they are sprayed with pesticides. But there are many other reasons to avoid GMO food. GMO crops are not as nutritious and do not taste as good. GMO crops are modified to withstand harsh chemicals and grow strong despite poor soil health or other growing conditions. It’s not modified for taste or nutrition. Organic, heirloom varieties both taste better and are healthier! Genetically modified food is also harmful because it can cause allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, Immuno-suppression, and even contribute to cancer.
What we can do instead:
Avoiding non-organic food can be a daunting task. Many people do not live in areas with access to affordable organic foods. Where I live, we’re lucky to have a variety of grocery stores that carry a large variety of affordable organic foods. Aldi is an excellent option if you have one in your area! If you live in a rural area without access to these kinds of grocery stores, there are a few things you can do.
1. Shop online:
This is not necessarily the most cost-efficient option, but it is an option. Thrive Market or another similar online-style grocery store is a good option. These stores often sell organic foods at prices that are comparable to say your local Krogers.
2. Check the “Dirty Dozen” and Clean 15” lists
Some foods are worse than others when it comes to GMOs and pesticides/herbicides. Luckily for us, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA publishes two lists to help guide our shopping. The Dirty Dozen outlines 12 foods that are sprayed with the most pesticides and the Clean 15 outlines 15 foods that have been sprayed with the least amount of pesticides. This list is updated every year to keep up with farming practices, and is very helpful when shopping on a budget! Simply buy organic or avoid buying foods from the dirty dozen list, and feel confident about buying non-organic foods from the Clean 15 list.
3. Buy local from trusted farmers
It can take a while to meet farmers in your area with good farming practices. The farmer’s market is a good place to start. If you have one in your area, talk to the vendors, and ask them about their farms. I love to visit local farms. There’s nothing more reassuring than seeing animals on pasture and diverse lush fields. You can also meet people through social media. Local Facebook groups can be incredibly helpful places to find and meet farmers. I’ve had a lot of luck in local groups like “crunchy moms”. Get creative. The more you explore your area, and talk to people, the easier you will find farmers or growers who you can buy good health from.
4. Grow, hunt, and forage your own food.
This may seem daunting, but most people actually find they LOVE these things. Growing a garden, foraging for food, and hunting are considered hobbies by most people. BUT you can actually obtain a large amount of healthy, all-organic, food for your family this way! It’s affordable and fun!
I personally feel that this is how humans are designed to live. As a species, we’re designed to gather our food this way in the community. It’s idealistic and possibly unrealistic for some today in the modern world, but this is how people groups all over the world have functioned for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This way of gathering, preparing, and eating food is fun, fulfilling, and the healthiest thing we can do for our bodies. The food is diverse, local, and organic, and our bodies worked harder and worked outdoors to gather and prepare it.
For more information, the book Nourishing Traditions is an EXCELLENT resource! I really can’t say enough good things about this book. You can also visit my post here on What is Ancestral Eating or Principles of an Ancestral Lifestyle. I also write a lot about gardening and homesteading! To learn more visit my page here!
There is so much to learn here, so if you’re brand new to this conversation, don’t be overwhelmed!