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What are the Benefits of Organic?

Center for Food Safety

Organic farming builds fertile soils to feed healthy plants by fortifying soil microbes and root systems and by boosting the plant’s defense mechanisms so that it resists debilitating pests, disease, and fungi. What benefits does growing, buying, and eating organic have?

Organic food is good for you

Since organic farms cannot use synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, eating organic food reduces you exposure to toxic residues in your food.  Research has shown that children fed an all organic diet had lower body burdens of pesticides than those fed conventional foods. All of this is what makes organic foods healthier and tastier than their conventional counterparts that are grown in synthetic and sterilized environment, without thriving populations of   living organisms and beneficial insects that provide important checks and balances in healthy organic systems.

Organic food is good for the environment

Organic regulations prohibit the spread of synthetic, toxic chemicals on farmland and they require farmers to build soil fertility through the use of compost and manures, crop rotations, mixed and intercropping systems, and cover crops.  They also mandate on-farm biodiversity conservation practices to maintain or improve soil, water, wetlands, woodlands and wildlife.  Such practices include planting native crops and pastures, establishing wildlife corridors, and creating habitat for beneficial predators (birds, bats, etc.), insects, and pollinators.  Organic ruminant rearing practices must not cause soil erosion or adversely impact riparian areas or wetlands due to manure run-off.  This conscious system of farming allows future generations to bank on the fact that viable farmland and farm communities will be preserved to feed our nation in perpetuity.

Organic protects animal health and welfare

Livestock grown and managed organically must have access to the outdoors and room enough to move, graze, and develop in a manner that supports their natural behavior.  The organic system of animals rearing prohibits the routine and non-therapeutic use of antibiotics, which can lead to the creation of resistant E. coli strains and render the some antibiotics ineffective for human and animal use.  Growth hormones such as rBST and rBGH are also prohibited which means that the inhumane practice of forcing cows to overproduce milk cannot occur.

Organic boosts local, regional, and national economies

While industrial agriculture still dominates farm fields and supermarket shelves, organic agriculture boasts the highest growth rate of any other sector of agriculture/US food production—for over two decades.   Organic represents a $29 billion industry, growing at average of 15-20 percent annually.   What’s most exciting is that organic fruits and vegetables now represent 12 % of all US fruit and vegetable sales (organic AND conventional), followed by the organic dairy industry which comprises 6% of the total US dairy market. [1]

Organic farming also provides beginning farmers and ranchers an opportunity to develop a career that not only affords them a right livelihood but that also allows them to contribute to the food security and independence of their community.

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[1] U.S. Organic industry valued at nearly $29 billion in 2010.  On the web @  http://www.organicnewsroom.com/2011/04/us_organic_industry_valued_at.html  Visted:  17 May 2011

Organic ensures that you know how your food is grown

Certified organic food producers adhere to a strict system of government-mandated regulations, verified by third party inspectors.   The use of genetic engineering technology, animal clones, and sewage sludge are all prohibited on organic farms, as well as synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  To ensure compliance with government-mandated systems of organic practices, from crop to table, organic farmers produce an Organic System Plan (OSP) detailing their farm practices and outlining the plans for building soil fertility, erosion prevention, and biodiversity enhancement and conservation, among other things.  Government-deputized organic certification agents review and inspect farm and food production records and practices, from the seed to the table to ensure that they comply with the rules. 

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