(From the Organic Trade
When you buy certified organic food and products, your dollars cast a
vote for a healthier planet because organic agriculture and processing
Organic foods protect the health of future generations.
The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at
least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. The food choices
parents make today will impact their children's health tomorrow.
Organic foods protect water quality.
Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-quarters of
the planet. Despite its importance, the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) estimates that pesticides contaminate ground water in 38 states,
polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the
country's population. Organic growers and processors use practices that
eliminate polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, and thus protect
and conserve precious water resources.
Organic foods build and protect top soil.
The Soil Conservation Service estimates that over 30 billion tons of topsoil
are eroded from U.S. crop lands annually. The cause? Intensive mono-cropping
(the planting of vast areas with the same crop year after year) and environmentally
insensitive farming practices. The results? The worst topsoil erosion
in history. Soil is the organic farmer's most revered tool. Rather than
relying on synthetic fertilizers, they build their soil through natural
amenities, such as composted manure, and by planting diverse crops. Organic
farmers respect the soil and view it as the foundation of the food chain.
Organic foods must meet stringent standards.
Organic certification standards are the public's assurance that their
food and products have been grown and handled according to strict sustainable
procedures without persistant toxic inputs. Consumers can find a diverse
spectrum of certified organic products on supermarket and department store
shelves, from snack foods to outdoor clothing. Until the federal regulations
concerning the use of the term "organic" are in place, "certified
organic" is the consumer's best assurance for organic authenticity.
Organic foods reduce potential health risk.
Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research
linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Now, the EPA considers
60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides, and 30% of all insecticides
as potentially cancer causing.
Organic foods preserve biodiversity.
The loss of a variety of species (biodiversity) is one of our most pressing
environmental concerns. Many organic growers have been collecting and
using heirloom seed varieties for decades. On the other hand, many conventional
farms still grow hybridized vegetables and fruits, bred for uniformity,
ease of shipping and cosmetic appearance. Such "modern" concerns
have ignored the value of preserving a diversity of seed varieties, and
therefore a more balanced ecosystem.
Organic foods keep rural communities healthy.
The USDA predicts that by the year 2000, half of the U.S. farm production
will come from only 1% of farms. Organic farming may be one of the few
survival tactics left for the family farm and rural communities. Many
organic farms are independently owned and operated and have less than
Organic foods protect the health of farm workers.
While pesticides may pose a health risk to consumers, the risks are far
greater for field workers. A National Cancer Institute study found that
farmers exposed to herbicides had a six-times greater risk than non-farmers
of contracting one type of cancer. Field workers on conventional farms,
due to their direct exposure, are the most vulnerable to illness as a
result of pesticide use. Organic farms eliminate that risk by eliminating
harmful pesticides and other chemical inputs from their practices.
Organic foods represent a 'true' economy.
Organically grown products may seem more expensive, but mere retail prices
are deceptive because conventionally raised and priced agricultural products
represent only a fraction of the true cost. Current prices for conventionally
grown foods do not reflect the costs of federal subsidies to conventional
agriculture, the cost of contaminated drinking water, loss of wildlife
habitat and soil erosion, or the cost of the disposal and clean up of
hazardous wastes generated by the manufacturing of pesticides. Consumers
can pay now or pay later. When you buy organically grown products you
pay now for a more sustainable environment.
Organic agriculture makes food taste great.
Top restaurant chefs across the country will tell you 'organically grown
foods taste better'. Why? It's common sense - well-balanced soils grow
strong healthy plants which taste great. Plus, many conventional growers
are still raising hybridized vegetables and fruits that are bred for uniformity,
ease of shipping and cosmetic appearance - concerns that ignore the importance
of flavor. Many organic growers collect and use seeds from heirloom varieties
that, because of their superior flavor, have been passed down through
generations of farmers. True flavors, like those from an organic, vine-ripened
Brandywine Pink tomato or a crisp, organic, Gravenstein apple, are not
just for chefs and fancy restaurants - they are for everyone who cares
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