Fauna, insects, frogs, birds and soil organisms are able to play their important role in the wallpaper of ecology, and we are able to play ours, without interference or compromise. The decline of birds, bees and other pollinators has been linked to synthetic pesticides used by conventional farmers. Organic farms are home to about 30 percent more wildlife than conventional farms. Researchers from the University of Oxford and Sweden and Switzerland conducted a meta-analysis of nearly 100 studies which estimates that 75 percent of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost over the past century. Relying heavily on one or two varieties of a given food is a formula for devastation.
In addition, conventional foods from the past 20 years are produced from genetically modified seeds. The mix of genes from different species is what makes genetically modified organism such unique crops, and that’s why chemical producers were able to patent these crops. It is not possible to create such transgenic organisms by traditional breeding methods. Genetically modified crops have not been thoroughly tested by independent scientists for long-term consequences on health and the environment. Genetically modified foods also contaminate non-GMO and organic crops, which can permanently wipe out organic and heirloom seeds.
5. Avoid GMOs
Often called “frankenfoods“GMOs can be found in over 75% of processed foods sold in America. The United States and Canada stand alone without mandatory and clear labeling of GMOs. There are 64 other countries in Europe and elsewhere that label GMOs and allow consumers to make an informed choice. Many other countries have banned GMO farming practices outright. As GMOs are not labeled, the best guarantee to avoid GMOs is to choose foods that are certified organic.
Currently, more than 90 percent of all GM crops are engineered to survive spraying with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weedkiller, Roundup. These Roundup-Ready crops have made glyphosate the most widely used pesticide in American agriculture. Since GMO corn and soybeans were first introduced two decades ago, the amount of glyphosate used by farmers has increased by 280 million pounds per year. Glyphosate was recently classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by cancer experts at the World Health Organization. Due to this extreme chemical immersion, GMO crops have led to environmental catastrophes such as super weeds and super insects. Organic food cannot be grown using genetically modified seeds, and no processed organic food can use GMO ingredients. Organic always means GMO-free.
Plants fed by healthy soil on organic farms produce crops that often contain higher levels of important antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. A team lA researcher from Washington State University also found that organic milk contains significantly higher concentrations of heart-healthy fatty acids than milk from cows on conventionally managed dairy farms. Organic farming is considered regenerative agriculture and can actually increase soil fertility, creating more nutritious food.
7. Good for farmers
Reduced dependence on chemical and food engineering companies is good for farmers. Certified organic food producers adhere to a strict system of government regulations, verified and certified by third party inspectors. Farmers must make a financial commitment to grow food according to the organic model. Fortunately, the organic food market is the largest growing agricultural sector in the United States.
After all, farmers are business people and want to grow food that has a market.
Big box retailer Costco, in 2017, adopted $ 4 billion in annual organic sales, eclipsing Whole Foods. Now, organic farmers cannot grow produce fast enough to supply the warehouse retailer. To help steer the offer in the right direction, Costco lends money to farmers, allowing them to buy land and equipment to grow more organic produce. Choosing organic food creates a positive ripple effect from farm to fork, as supply always meets demand.
8. Animal wellbeing
Organically raised livestock must have access to the outdoors and sufficient space to move, graze and develop in a way that promotes their natural behavior. These animals cannot receive growth hormones, and animals treated with antibiotics cannot produce biological products. Conventional livestock factories use genetically modified crops to fatten livestock before slaughter, while organically grown animals cannot ingest genetically modified feed.
Organic farm animals have access to grass and are not fed a diet of corn, cottonseed, canola, and GMO soybeans. Unhealthy and abused animals make unhealthy foods that make up a significant percentage of all foodborne illnesses. To avoid disease and put an end to inhumane treatment, buy certified organic animal products.
9. Hormones and use of antibiotics
Organic dairy cows do not receive injections of milk stimulating hormones such as Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST), which increases insulin levels in humans. Studies also show that over 90 percent of pesticides consumed by Americans are found in the fat and tissue of meat and dairy products. According to Consumers Union, about 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States are used in meat and poultry production. Many scientists and experts warn that the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed, such as penicillin and tetracycline, will lead to an epidemic against which medicine has no defense. Karim Ahmed, senior researcher at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that “this is perhaps one of the most serious public health problems facing the country. We are talking about making many of the most important antibiotics ineffective. »Organic meat and dairy products cannot be produced with antibiotics and growth hormones.
10. Food security
A true food future requires us to treat our precious land, our water, our air, our animals and our ecosystem with more care. Over 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America, to the tune of billions of pounds per year. The average application is equivalent to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person, each year. It is not a sustainable system for any of us.
The loss of our pollinators through poor industrial practices is rapidly threatening the world’s food supply. Recent United Nations reports warn that without immediate action to protect pollinators, the world’s food supply could be depleted. We need to step out of the pesticide conveyor belt and assert our purchasing power as consumers to reduce damage and regenerate our environment. America’s $ 1 trillion food industry market is predominantly chemically dependent. We are paying the price for our declining health and the health of the Earth. Spending money on the organic sector is a direct vote for a sustainable future for many generations to come.
So you can see that choosing organic is really a down payment on our food future. From bees to seas, we cannot afford not to eat organic food. At the grocery store, look for the green and white circular USDA Organic label. Organic products often have a 9 at the beginning of the PLU numbers on the sticker or just look for signs and labels that say “organic”. The cheapest way to embrace this lifestyle is to grow your own organic food, buy directly from a farmer at a farm stall, farmers market, or opt for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in your community. If you ask, the growers will provide it and the price of organic will decrease as it becomes available in each community.
Zuri Star is a citizen activist and passionate advocate for environmental health, human rights, animal rights and the healthy food movement. She leads the I Am Zuri tribe. Zuri is also a singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, mother, and passionate about travel and cooking. This article originally appeared in NaturallySavvy.com