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organic food benefits

Organic Is Worth It—and Here's Why

The nutritional reasons for eating organic are rock solid, according to research. Add the environmental, economic, and wellness reasons, and it's a no-brainer.

By Leah Zerbe

tags: ORGANIC FARMING, ORGANIC FOOD



benefits-of-organic-food-advantages-of-organic-food

Help yourself: Organic food is nutritious, but that's not all it gives you.

Maybe you heard the hullabaloo over a 2010 journal review written by a well-known researcher who has spent a lot of time discrediting the nutritional benefits of organic food. In the article, Joseph Rosen, PhD, professor emeritus of food toxicology at Rutgers University, suggested that organic food might not be worth the cost. This "new" review didn't include any new content, or address dozens of recent studies that prove the nutritional value of organic food. Nevertheless, nutritional considerations certainly influence the food choices we make, so it's a worthy conversation to have.

That said, eating organic involves a lot more than the nutritional content of the food itself. In 2010, the mainstream medical community—in the form of the President’s Cancer Panel—took the major step of urging Americans to eat organic food because of its many benefits, including the fact that it's grown without chemicals, pesticides, drugs, and hormones linked to cancer, as chemically grown foods are.

But back to nutritional content, where organic still appears to have an edge over conventional, even if the differences are more complicated to measure than you might think. "We agree that many variables impact the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods, that differences can vary by year, and that more research is needed to accurately quantify the differences," explains Chuck Benbrook, PhD, chief scientist at The Organic Center, which generates peer-reviewed research on organic farming and products. "The [UK-based] Soil Association and The Organic Center have never stated that organic food is always more nutritious,” says Benbrook. “But on average, across years, types of food, soils, genetics, and so on, it’s about 25 percent more nutritious. That’s what the literature shows."

Published on: May 11, 2010
Updated on: May 8, 2013



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spread the word

I encourage everyone to find ways to include in their everyday conversations the topics of buying local, supporting independent farmers and organic practices, fair trade, grass-fed, free range animal husbandry and "casting your dollar vote" by how and where you shop. Read up and be educated about these things and people will listen or at least become interested. I am amazed at how easy it is to bring these issues into everyday conversations with friends, co-workers and people I meet while shopping! Help spread the word!!

organic costs

As mentioned, organic methods are more labor intensive--though that means they create jobs--and organics don't benefit from government food subsidies that lower the prices of other foods. These tend to raise the costs of organic food. However, look closely when you're food shopping. You may find that sometimes the price difference isn't as great as you expect. If you buy fewer packaged, processed foods and more whole foods, that can free up some of your food budget. Buying in bulk can save you money; freeze or store the extra or go in with some friends. Seasonal produce generally costs less, especially if you can buy from a farmer's market or join a CSA. Look for sales at supermarkets and check manufacturer's websites for coupons. Many of us have challenges when it comes to stretching our food budgets, but even so you may be able to get some organic in your shopping cart if you try.

review

The idea that the place to get scientific information, unbiaed and whole, from any place called the organic cebter, is just silly

organic pesticides are expensive

There are organic pesticides and they are a lot more expensive than chemical ones. Also, if the pesticides doesn't do its job on the produce, nobody wants to eat bug-bitten food and so there is less of your crop to sell. Reminds me of an old joke... What's better to see in your apple - a half of a worm or a whole worm?

Meat Vs. Veggies

I'm not trying to tell anyone what to eat. But is there an environmental difference between large scale animal organic farming and traditional? And then what is the difference between a plant only diet and one based on animal products? I feel like just because the cows eat grass doesn't mean that ranching is good for the environment.

Labour intensive

"What makes it more expensive?"

Organic growing is more labour-intensive, and right now, labour costs more than petroleum.

As we continue to run out of petroleum (most analysts agree that we will never again pump as much as the 86.6 million barrels per day that was pumped in 2005), expect to see chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer skyrocket in price, while labour costs remain the same or go down, causing the price gap to narrow.

But if you are in any position to grow even some of your own food, DO IT NOW! Don't wait for food prices to inflate like crazy while your wages stagnate before you start growing food! It takes some discipline that you need to develop and some experience you need to acquire; it's a multi-year process, and we might not have multiple years before the next crash.

Or come and help us grow food!

money to conventional farming vs money to organic farming

Every time we give money to buy junk food made from Concentrated Animal Feedlots and pesticide soaked genetically modified vegetables we are supporting Toxic super corporations and NOT supporting organic, local farming.

We must take away the power of these supercorporations to destroy us and our planet and the best way to do taht is to to not give them money.

Buy Organic. Buy Local. Save your health, your neighbors, the planet!

Price

I buy "happy cow" ground beef directly from the farmer for $4/pound...which is exactly the price of beef patties in my grocey store. You can buy directly from the farmer in bulk (GREAT EXPERIENCE TO MEET THEM!)and keep it in the freezer section of your fridge. A lot more fits in there than you think, plus it lacks all the styrofoam packaging that is such a waste.

chemicals

I spoke with a farmer, who said: So we use this seed that is coated with chemicals so that the seedlings can resist many of the diseases and bugs while they are small and vulnerable, and then when they are just out of the ground we spray the entire field with Roundup, to kill the weed. And yes, our plants are genetically modified so that they can resist Roundup.

Happy toxin eating to all of you. I started my own veggie garden in a corner of my backyard, and pots, containers... whatever can hold some soil...

organic foods

Since they don't use all those expensive pesticides what makes it so much more expensive?

organic

I agree it is healthier, but it cost so much more. The average person cannot afford to buy it even though we know there is that chance that we may get sick from eating the (un) organic foods.

Price

- You can spend it now on a healthy diet / living. . . or you can spend it later on disease & illness. Either way it will cost you.

- When you eat healthy foods you don't need as much to feel full.

- Your tax dollars have already paid for part of the cheap processed foods by subsidizing corn. So it's not really cheaper.

- You have a voice by how you spend your money. Be the change you want to see in the world.

PRICE

I am not in a financial position to buy much organic - but I am grateful to those who do, not only helping our environment, but making it more feasible to produce organic products thus lowering prices and making these items more readily available. Hopefullym someday we will all be able to afford to eat right.

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