The sale of organic food has grown in the last ten years by almost 20 percents a year. Today, organic food counts for about two percents of food sales in the world. It is evident that people are convinced that organic food is better for them. But, is it really the truth?
To mention just one of several widely publicized studies, a group of scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that ” “there is no differences in most nutrients in organically or conventionally grown crops, including in vitamin C, calcium, and iron” . This was very good news for the manufacturers of conventionally grown food, who happily reprinted the results of this study all over the world. But, what did this study really say? The scientists did not say that organic food was not better for you than the conventionally grown food. All they said is that the same nutrients are there, regardless of how the food is grown. There is more to the organic food than its basic vitamins and minerals.
What is organic food?
According to the USDA, ” “organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation” .
The main reason for the increased popularity of organic food comes from the fear people have of chemical pesticides and fertilizers used to grow food in conventional fields. Nobody today has any doubt that the use of chemicals to grow food has serious effects on human health. The residues of agricultural chemicals become part of the food, especially fruits and vegetables. They cannot be eliminated even after the vegetables and fruits are washed and peeled. Organophosphate pesticides are linked to a number of health problems such as dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and many others. They are even linked to severe chronic health issues such as neurological deficits, respiratory problems, skin problems, memory loss, cancer, depression and birth defects.
The only food free of agricultural chemicals is food produced on organic farms. Organic farmers use age-old methods of farming such as composting, crop rotation, mechanical cultivation and biological pest control. Legumes are occasionally planted to fix nitrogen into the soil, insects” ™ natural predators are used to fight pests, soil is mulched to control weeds and retain moisture etc.
We know that organic food is more expensive than traditionally grown food. An American family which uses mostly organic food spends about $500 more on food a year than people who buy regular food. The reason is simple: organic farming is less productive, more labor intensive and, in consequence, it is more expensive to produce than the regular one. But, many people are willing to accept the added cost for the benefit to their and their family”s health. Eating organic food might help them avoid a number of health problems inherent in chemically grown food, what means avoiding large medical bills. When you look at it that way, the math becomes very simple.
And let”s not even talk about the taste. There is no comparison between a pale, anemic tomato sold in large grocery stores and juicy, bright red organic tomato still smelling of the vine, sun and soil.