Why Eat Organic?
Over the last five years, the organic market in the UK has exploded, with more and more people plumping for organic food and drink.
But what makes food organic, and should you be forking out for it?
What is organic food?
With organic farming, manure and compost are used in place of synthetic substances and pests are controlled with the use of birds, insects or traps, rather than chemicals.
Organic livestock (raised for meat, eggs and dairy products) are not fed antibiotics, animal by-products or growth hormones.
Simply put, organic food is free from anything unnatural and will only be labelled as such if it adheres to a strict set of rules.
Why opt for organic?
- For your health
The use of fewer synthetic substances lowers your risk of consuming chemicals, and well-balanced soil increases the nutritional value of the produce.
There are no preservatives added to organic food either, which means that it tastes fresher.
Essentially, switching to an organic diet will ensure that no artificial ingredients pass your lips.
- For wildlife and the environment
Whilst intensive farming methods can destroy natural habitats, the lack of harmful pesticides used by organic farmers helps to protect species in decline, such as butterflies and bees.
Diversity in nature is very important, too, and organic farming practices encourage a natural balance within the ecological community.
With organic farming, farmland remains fertile, water systems are free from contamination and crop rotation ensures good soil structure and adequate nutrients.
- For the livestock themselves
Law dictates that organic farmers must provide their livestock with organic feed and give them the opportunity to roam freely whenever possible.
This means that organic livestock are able to enjoy healthier, happier lives.
But what about the price?
It’s no great secret that organic food is a little pricey, but there are good reasons for this.
As organic farms are often smaller than conventional farms, they are unable to reduce their costs through producing in bulk. Organic farmers face increased labour, too, and organic feed for animals and natural fertiliser can prove costly.
However, buying organically doesn’t have to break the bank!
Don’t be afraid to shop around, and if you don’t feel you can afford to buy everything organically, perhaps focus on the foods which carry a higher risk of contamination, such as apples, pears, tomatoes and potatoes.
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Questioning what's in the products you buy? Grace & Green will be hosting a Twitter chat on @EthicalHour on ‘What’s Lurking in Your Products? Looking Behind the Packaging.' Join us to chat all things ethical labelling on Monday September 18 from 8-9pm BST.
Original Article Written by Megan Whiting for Grace & Green
Edited by Skye Rytenskild
All Images Free for Distribution Via Creative Commons