Most of our readers have a pretty good idea what they’re looking for when they go into their grocery store to buy organic foods. But what does organic really mean?
Webster defines organic (in reference to organic food) as follows:
“Of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.”
Organic is better for the environment and better for us. When we purchase organic foods, we are buying foods that have not been genetically modified or poisoned with manmade chemicals. The organic label stands for a commitment to agriculture that achieves balance with our ecosystem. The soil is healthy. It retains a higher concentration of minerals. Animals are treated humanely (at least in comparison to non-organic methods). The groundwater runoff doesn’t poison our streams. The plants are able to naturally reproduce.
If you’ve never noticed the difference between organic and conventional foods, buy two organic apples and two conventional apples.
On day one, do a taste test. Which apple tastes better? Does one taste more alive? More full of energy?
On day two, eat an organic apple for breakfast (and nothing else) and notice how you feel. How long does it take for you to feel hungry again? What do you crave for lunch? How is your energy level?
On day three, repeat this process with the conventional apple and ask yourself the same questions.
Now the bad news. Organic standards as defined by the USDA are under attack and have been since their inception. Large companies and big agriculture want to make organic foods less expensive to produce, because they know the organic market is growing. They don’t care if the label is meaningless.
The phrase “all natural” now means little to health-minded, educated consumers. If big business has their way, you can expect the same erosion of the organic label.
Various organizations like the OCA wish to protect standards and keep the word organic synonymous with health and environmentally sound practices. Please visit their website to learn more about this issue and to help protect organic standards.