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Regardless of diet, organic foods are a smart priority. Opting for organic foods is an effectual choice for personal and planetary health. Buying organically grown food—free of harmful chemicals, bursting with more nutrition, taste, and sustainable sustenance—is a direct vote for immediate health and the hopeful future of generations to come.
Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.
Industrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002.
Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. In fact, our nation is now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility.
Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency has taken a toll with a loss of top soil estimated at a cost of $40 billion per year in the U.S., according to David Pimental of Cornell University. Add to this an equally disturbing loss of micro nutrients and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Feeding the soil with organic matter instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients in produce, with higher levels of vitamins and minerals found in organic food, according to the 2005 study, “Elevating Antioxidant levels in food through organic farming and food processing,” Organic Center State of Science Review (1.05)
Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter.
Whether it is local fruit, imported coffee or artisan cheese, organic can demonstrate a reverence for the land and its people. No matter the zip code, organic has proven to use less energy (on average, about 30 percent less), is beneficial to soil, water and local habitat, and is safer for the people who harvest our food.
Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated. The simple act of saving one heirloom seed from extinction, for example, is an act of biological and cultural conservation. Organic is not necessarily the most efficient farming system in the short run. It is slower, harder, more complex and more labor-intensive. But for the sake of culture everywhere, from permaculture to human culture, organic should be celebrated at every table.