Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why Organic?

Posted by Mandy at 9:04 AM

I've had a few conversations lately with some friends that are hopping on the organic buying bandwagon and we've all been asked so many times, "Why buy organic?" It costs more for the same thing! Sometimes quite a lot more! Here's why: (found on Oprah's website)
Though known colloquially as food that is grown more healthily (and is more expensive), in order for organic food to be certified as such, it must be produced under specific, legally-regulated standards and be subject to testing in order to retain certification.
In agriculture, this means that crops were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without food additives (like chemical preservatives). When it comes to animals, they must be reared without the routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones and fed a diet of organic foods. In most countries, organic produce must not be genetically modified.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about organic food is the relationship between legal (usually government) oversight and production of food employing earth-friendly practices. In order to be "certified," organic food -- and the farm it was grown on -- must apply for certification, pass a rigorous series of tests, and pay a fee for the process. In the US, this process is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture; as a government agency, it's subject to politicization and changing rules as different administrations and individuals assert their influence. As such, all "certified" organic food is organic, but not all organic food is certified. This, in part, has led to the increasing popularity of local food over organic food.
The biggest criticism of organic food, though, is the price premium. According to the Journal of Food Science, organic products typically cost 10 to 40% more than similar, conventionally-produced products. Prices tend to be higher because organic produce is produced on a smaller scale, and may need to be milled or processed separately; some of the price premium is likely to decrease as organic produce continues to scale up. Organic foods also tend to include more of the environmental costs that conventional agriculture tends to externalize. So, you're paying more for what's not in your food (pesticides, hormones, etc.) and you're paying more of the actual cost of food production, because things like pesticides aren't being passed along to the environment where friendly fuzzy bunnies and clear-running spring water pay for them.
This is just a bit of the article I read that I liked. We don't eat all organic foods, but that's mainly b/c there's just a lack of organics in our area. If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, buy organic only for foods that you eat the entire thing. Like apples for example. Apples, by the way, are considered to have one of the highest amounts of pesticide usage when growing... so it really pays to spend the extra cash for USDA certified organic apples. WalMart carries them now! In a bag for your convenience. :) Just wanted to throw some info out there for any that were interested. I've really been on a healthy home/ healthy environment kick... I guess it just seems to make sense to be! Sorry if you guys couldn't care less about the going green/organic stuff... I'll probably be blogging about it a bit more in the future!


K.T. is Mommatude on Thursday, 28 February, 2008 said...

I believe that is because apples are the most prone to bugs/diseases of any other fruit tree,bush or vegetable plant.We try during the spingtime to grow our own organic garden,but it has been a test to see what will do well and what wont.The most commonly eaten thing around our house are tomatoes,and I have to say the easiest to grow organically.

I think the same way about processed foods,although we consume them more than I like.I think there is a link between the increase in cancer and simultaneous increase in processed foods.Just one persons opinion. :D

Amanda & Justin Dreyer on Thursday, 28 February, 2008 said...

I'm more picky about the meats we eat... we don't eat any "mixed" meat (hotdogs, bologna, etc.) and I try to get cage free and horomone free chicken and turkey. It seems like they even taste better when they've been free and it makes me feel better to know that the animals are being treated with dignity (oh no, now I sound like a liberal)but it just killed me watching the video on the news the other day of that meat ranch that was abusing animals. Also- along with KT's comment- I think a lot of the increase in ADHD cases is due to all the preservatives, dyes, etc that is in so much of our food.


WendyJanelle on Thursday, 28 February, 2008 said...

You sidetracked me with the "found on Oprah's site".... I won't get started on here... ;-) But I will blog about it soon. hahaha.

I'm all for going Organic, on the things that I can afford. Organic blueberries are just delicious. It's the taste quality, not just the health benefits, although those are more important.

Yes, processed foods are responsible for so many ailments, in my opinion. That's one reason why we don't eat out. Who knows what goes into the food??

Have you ever looked up the ingredients on a package of Ramen noodles? Yikes.

If I can't pronounce it, I don't want to eat it. ;-)

Mandy on Friday, 29 February, 2008 said...

lol Wendy.. good rule of thumb! We had a season of eating out more and eating more easily prepared foods (aka: processed lol) when Sam was born... oh my gosh... I thought my children's insane behavior was due to the new baby.. but nearly the day I got back to our healthy eating.. they dramatically changed. My son especially. He is a very active child anyway and all of the dyes and *who knows what* in the foods we were eating seemed to be making it so much worse. Have you guys ever seen the specials on the news about the schools for the kids that have been kicked out of public schools due to behavioral problems? Some of them have adopted a very healthy meal plan and they all say the difference in the children is just amazing!

Amanda, I totally agree with you on the meat! Where do you get your meats? I didn't know if there were any really good meat places in town that had "organic" or close to it meats. I did buy the "natural" eggs from wally world the other day and I SWEAR they taste so much better! (from hens fed multigrain diets, no antibiotics, ect) Even the shells are harder.

Amanda & Justin Dreyer on Friday, 29 February, 2008 said...

Tyson now makes some chicken without antibiotics and it's better, but a lot of the time we stock up on meet when we go to Little Rock. Kroger has a ton of great stuff and I LOVE Wild Oats!

thejoyfulchaos on Saturday, 01 March, 2008 said...

okay, i haven't read this one yet. i gotta catch up!

the losing things post: good grief! yes! kid scissors. keys. my hairbrush, the kids have started singing the veggietales song when i ask them for it. i've used my girl's baby doll brushes more than once. and the remote. argh!

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