What does “Organic” mean????
The term “Organic” refers to the way how agricultural products are grown and processed. The methods and procedures may vary from country to country. Here in New Zealand “Organic” is termed as agriculture based on minimising the use of external inputs. For example, avoiding or excluding the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, antibiotics, growth promotants, genetic modification, and irradiation. Where as in the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. (Source: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/growing-and-harvesting/land-care-and-farm-management/organics/ , https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm?pdf=13289).
Organic food crops are more nutritious
Brandt and co-workers published in 2011 a metaanalysis of all 102 available studies since 1992 comparing the content of seven (groups of) vitamins and secondary metabolites in organic and conventional food crops: Total phenolics, phenolic acids, other defence compounds (three groups of plant defense related compounds), as well as carotenoids, flavones and flavonols, other non-defense compounds, and vitamin C (four groups of not plant defence related compounds). According to Brandt’s analysis, plant defense related compounds were on average present in 16 percent higher concentrations in organic crops. Vitamin C was six percent higher, flavones and flavonols were eleven percent higher, and other non-defense compounds were eight percent higher in organic crops. There was no significant difference in carotenoid content between organic and conventional crops. The overall conclusion of the authors was that on average, organic crops contained twelve percent more vitamins and secondary metabolites than conventional crops.
Is Organic food really healthier? Is it worth the expense? Find out what the labels mean and which food give you the most bang for your buck.
Organic vs Non-organic
The organic food are grown with natural fertilizers like manure compost whereas inorganic are grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers. In non-organics the plants are controlled with chemical herbicides and use pesticides of which makes both fruit and plant look nicer and grow faster but in organic the weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching and tilling). Organic food are produce in a traditional methods and natural environment whereas non-organic uses modern ways of farming tools, pesticides, chemical and are grown in a non-biological environment.
Organic means not only food but it also includes organic livestock. Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products. So, I’m going to discuss some key points on Non-organic and organic livestock differences.
- Pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and naturally-derived pesticides.
- Organic meat, dairy, eggs:
- Livestock are given all organic, GMO-free feed.
- Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet.
- Livestock must have access to the outdoors.
- Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides
- Conventionally-raised meat, dairy, eggs
- Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth, as well as non-organic, GMO feed.
- Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
- Livestock may or may not have access to the outdoors.
Benefits of Organic Food
How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods. Some of the benefits are as follows:
- Organic Production contains fewer pesticides: Chemical such as herbicides, insecticides, synthetic pesticides so on.
- Food is often fresher: it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer, but not always so it’s better to look on the small farms nearby your location where the organic food is sold or grown.
- Farming is better for the Environment: Reduces pollution, conserve water, makes soil more fertile, and use less energy. Organic farming practices is better for nearby animals, birds and as well as people who are living close to farms.
- Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients: Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.
- Food is GMO-free: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.
Why is organic food often more expensive?
Organic food is more labor intensive since the farmers do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or drugs. Organic certification is expensive and organic feed for animals can cost twice as much. Organic farms tend to be smaller than conventional farms, which means fixed costs and overhead must be distributed across smaller produce volumes without government subsidies.
Some Snapshot According to OANZ Market report.
Where to shop for organic food
To find farmers’ markets, organic farms, and grocery co-ops in your area,