With such a huge focus on “going organic”, what actually is organic and why go organic at all?
Have you heard the phrase “You should go organic!” and wondered what the difference is between organic and the regular mindful way you consume your produce?
It can be confusing when you don’t know the inherent differences between organic produce and the plethora of other labels attached to foodstuffs you find available for consumption in supermarkets, butchers, and farm shops.
The awareness of organic produce has grown in popularity over the last decade amongst those incredibly mindful of both the quality and purity of their products and the farming techniques used to produce them.
I guess what we really need to delve into is the differences that organic produce has that sets it apart completely from the rest of the produce world.
What is Organic?
DEFRA classifies organic as:
“Organic food is the product of a farming system that avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.
Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that works towards environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding, and biological pest control.”
So, breaking it down, organic is a way of making sure that the products that are produced are as pure as it can be as if it was to be found in its natural environment, and this includes being:
- Free from man-made fertilisers
- Free from pesticides
- Free from growth regulators
- Free from additives
- Free from irradiation and the use of GMO’s
- Free from heavy farming processes
- Providers of high welfare standards
- Providers of standards that meet or exceed natural habitats
So there are many elements to organic farming where the standards have to be met, as those elements are the ones that enable the organic produce to be classified as such.
Those products that have been produced under organic guidelines will be the only products that can be called organic. Their companies, right down to the grass-roots of the origins of the products, will be rigorously vetted and investigated for their compliance to make sure that they are continually meeting the necessary standards.
Why Go Organic?
Below are 5 reasons why you might want to consider going organic:
Organic Produce is Great for the Environment
The qualifying standards for the classification of organic mean that there will be no pesticides, insecticides, or heavy farming techniques used to grow or produce the final product you see as organic.
This is clearly better for the environment, and it heavily reduces the instances and severity of land, air, and water pollution simply by cutting out the use of harmful chemicals.
Organic Produce is Generally Fresher
Organic produce is managed conservatively, from the first soil preparation to the food you find on your plate.
Organic produce does not contain any preservatives, as this would be an artificial intervention into the end product. Therefore the produce you find that is classed as organic will be fresher than a packet of carrots you see on a supermarket shelf, for instance.
Organic Produce may be Higher in Essential Nutrients
Organic produce may be higher in the essential micronutrients (vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc) simply due to the fact that there is no artificial chemical intervention directed to the animals or vegetable matter, and the food the animals eat and the soil the produce grows in is a pure and nutrient-dense as possible, which will impart into the product.
Organic Produce is Free Of GMOs
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) relate to natural matter whose DNA has been altered via artificial means to increase the production and efficiency of the product. It is mainly used to improve the product’s resistance to pesticides.
GMO’s are artificial in the fact that you cannot reproduce them in natural processes; therefore, they are not permitted in relation to organic standards.
Organic Farming Processes are Better for Local Eco-Systems
Local Eco-systems are incredibly delicate when faced with massive humanisation and expansion. Organic farming techniques are mindful of how their cultivation or growing practices affect the immediate area around them.
Their farming processes are often gentler to the surrounding physical and atmospheric environments to actively protect the surrounding environment, including water, soils, atmosphere, and habitats of wild animals.
If you were to ask any organic farmer or producer about how much work goes into their products, they would tell you it is very hands-on hard work!
It is an intensive process to be able to classify their products as organic. Still, it is heavy in the fact that they require more hands, more knowledge, and more consideration to be able to produce genuine organic products.
Is it more expensive in the grand scheme of consumerism? Yes, it is, which is totally justified given the amount of considerate labour that is put into each and every product that can hold the organic label.
Organic products can be more nutrient-dense per unit compared to their mass-produced equivalent, and this is imperative to now if you consume produce for health and mindfulness versus eating something because it’s cheap and convenient.
Everything from the soil to the welfare to the end user-product is rigorously and routinely assessed to make sure that all organic farms, farmers, processes, and environments are holistically organic. Experts must regularly evaluate their standards and compliance checked to make sure that all of their practices are wholly organic consistently.