What’s the difference between organic and conventional vegetables anyway? Why do we pay more for what appears on the surface to be the same thing?
Chemical pesticides were invented to save time, of course a very appealing prospect for farmers. But at what cost to human health and the environment? Each year conventional farms get more and more doses of chemicals sprayed onto their fields. Where do these chemicals go? They run off into our rivers and oceans or saturate the soil, the very soil used to grow the veggies we are expected to eat. The people who believed chemical pesticides and fertilisers didn’t sound that bad years ago, may not have considered the effect of decades of constant dousing. The toxicity levels in our environment continue to rise. Expecting vegetables to cost very little is basically supporting the continuation of this time saving, yet unsustainable practice.
Organic farming on the other hand, uses natural methods of agriculture. These focus on developing healthy soil, full of micro-organisms that support the plant and help it to produce a nutrient rich food source. In addition, plants grown in an organic manner can develop their own resistance to bugs, as they don’t become weak and dependent on chemical fertilisers and pesticides to protect them. Furthermore, companion planting (growing plants nearby that repel insects or attract the insects away from the crop), hand weeding, and other natural pest control methods play a part in the control of hungry little insects and weeds. Of course this all takes time. So ultimately we are paying the farmers for the extra care they take to grow produce without the chemical residue, and most often a higher nutritional content.
In addition, the workers and animals on an organic farm are not effected by chemicals like those on conventional farms. This can be a devastating side effect of farming with chemicals. So not only are you supporting your own health by buying organics, you are supporting the wellbeing of those who produce your food.
If you are used to the visual appeal of supermarket produce, you may think some organic produce looks a little average. But, organic veggies don’t sacrifice appearance for taste. Often supermarkets will choose the most visually appealing variety of fruit and veg, that is hardy and will store well. This produce may look fantastic, but often it is a case of ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. Organic fruit and veg in contrast, can sometimes look a little ‘funky’. However, let taste be the judge! 9 times out of 10 the flavour of organic veggies trumps conventional. It’s even better if it is in peak season and local to the area.
So while at first glance, organic veggies may seem to cost the earth… the fact is by buying them you are helping to support the earth! You are supporting the health of the environment, your health, and the health of your family, organic farmers and their animals! in addition, you are eating vegetables and fruit that have been given a chance to grow naturally, are full of flavour and grown with extra care and love.
Caitlin and Jarek @ New Harvest Produce
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