10 Reasons Why We Love Organic Food and Farming
Health and Nutrition More and more people are drawn to organic because they want food grown without risky pesticides. As an ecologist, I know they’re getting all that, and so much more:
1. Organic dramatically reduces risks stemming from dietary exposure to pesticide residues.
Some still-widely-used pesticides have been linked to serious health concerns, including diabetes, birth defects, lost IQ, and other neurological problems including ADHD. The 2010 report by the President’s Cancer Panel recommends choosing foods grown without pesticides as one of the best ways to reduce your family’s exposure to industrial chemicals.
2. Organic helps you say no to GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
More good news: USDA organic standards also prohibit the use of sewage sludge and irradiation in organic food production.
3. Organic creates more jobs!
The organic industry supports well over a half-million jobs in the U.S. Research showed that in 2010, the organic industry created twenty-one percent more jobs than would have been generated if the food industry had relied solely on conventional ingredients.
4. Organic practices protect our drinking water.
A USGS study found that approximately seventy-five percent of stream water and forty percent of groundwater samples from agricultural areas contained atrazine, a popular weed killer potentially linked to birth defects and cancer. Atrazine was banned in the E.U. ten years ago; what are we waiting for?
5. Organic practices help protect the health of farmworkers.
About one billion pounds of pesticides are applied every year in the U.S., with 70-80% of that on agricultural lands. Farmworkers face the greatest risk of exposure to dangerous agricultural chemicals; they mix and apply pesticides, and plant, weed and harvest in treated fields.
6. Organic farming is BEEutiful for biodiversity.
A large and growing body of research shows that synthetic pesticides are a key factor in declining honeybee populations. Organic farms provide more natural habitat for the pollinators we depend on––for one in every three bites of food.
7. Organic farms promote energy independence.
Because they don’t use fertilizers made with fossil fuels, organic farms use thirty to fifty percent less energy than conventional farms.
8. Organic farming is part of the climate solution.
Organic practices such as composting and crop rotation actually sequester carbon in the soil (on average, 1500 pounds of CO2 per acre per year), making organic farmland a sink rather than source of CO2.
9. Organic farmland is more resilient during drought.
All that carbon in the soil acts like a sponge, and can retain twenty percent or more water than conventional farmland.
10. Organic inspires us to sow a healthier, more sustainable food future for everyone ––starting with organic seed.
Clif Bar Family Foundation’s initiative, Seed Matters, focuses on improving and protecting seed, the critical first link in the food chain (learn more at seedmatters.org).
Organic solves multiple problems. If organic did just a few of these things, it would be a great choice. The fact that it does all of them—and more—makes organic the best choice.