What does the term organic mean? By definition it means: “relating to or derived from living matter.” or “(of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilisers pesticides, or other artificial chemicals.”
Still to the average consumer, the word organic can seem confusing. You may be wondering, what is it that makes it so much more expensive or is it just a marketing scheme, or even are organic foods healthier?
I want you to relax, because this article will explain everything you need to know about organic farming, whether it is worth it for you or not, and the meaning of organic. Let’s dive right in! The organic market is absolutely huge, in fact the organic food and drink sales in the year 2020 have risen to £2.45bn.
With good reason, organic food is grown under more strict conditions. In fact for food to be classified as organic it must be grown without the use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides. This means that more food will be lost to pests which explains the larger price tag, and without the use of fertilisers the produce harvest will be a lot smaller. But what is so bad about fertiliser and pesticides? Well these products are harmful to health and can cause all kinds of damage to the body. It’s not only those though, there are certain chemicals that are prohibited from organic farming which means that by eating organic food you are eating more natural food that is also healthier.
An example of a prohibited chemical in organic farming is sulphites particuarly in the use of winemaking. In short, organic is much better for you, but agreed it is not better financially. The debate of organic vs inorganic, simply comes down to health vs wealth. It’s not just food and drink that can be organic, materials such as cotton, wool, and anything that grows can be organic too.
When I had my first born daughter at 20 years old, I wanted to ensure that she got the best possible start. This is when my journey with organic started, from homemade organic baby foods to eventually swapping everything out for the healthiest, most natural organic products that I could get hold of. I introduced organic toothpaste into our household that didnt contain sodium fluoride or the other nasties, and I even found suncream alternatives. The truth is that what you put on your skin is very important for your health. The skin is very absorbent and you must make sure to look after it, by being careful what you use.
When it comes to cows milk, organic is extremely important. This is because cows have strict standards, which means farmers are not allowed to give them antibiotics that could leach into the milk. Farmers are also not allowed to give the cows a hormone that forces the production of more milk. In regards to eggs, this is less about nutrition and health but more about the animals welfare. We used to keep quail and built a huge greenhouse for them to roam around free, we gave them only organic feed, and gave them 50 times the recommended space. Organic for meat and eggs is by far the most important of all foods, because it means that the animal is better looked after.
We are not saying that you should go out and make sure that you always only eat organic, or go to that extremely expensive organic restaurant. What we recommend is to try eat organic foods when you can, always try to get the best healthiest foods, skin creams, healthcare products that you can, but initially now that you have the knowledge, the choice is yours.
Finally, it’s worth knowing that the word organic doesn’t always mean the same thing. Whilst it’s synonyms are: natural, biotic, pesticide-free, it can also be something that is harmful such as VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which is a pollutant chemical found in paint that is extremely bad for the environment. What are organic compounds? Organic compounds are generally any chemical that contains carbon.
When I used to work in a retail store at age 18, there I was stacking the shelves, and I’m approached by a customer looking for ‘organic fruit and veg, I admit, I did not have a clue.
I showed him to our fruit and vegetables and he said to me "But is it organic?". I told him that it was, and that yeah it must be. He then replied and said "well it doesn't say that it's organic" and at the point I told him to please wait one minute whilst I go and check with a manager.
Off I went to find my supervising manager, it turns out that it wasn’t organic and the customer seemed so angry and upset about it, I didn’t see what the big deal was.
Later on, when my eight-hour shift was over, I told my partner about what had happened. She didn’t know about organic either, my puzzling mind was thinking lots about it and so I went on the internet to figure it out.
Now, everything I eat is organic. It turns out that despite organic costing more, nearly double in some cases. It is in fact much better for you, with the organic label, they are not allowed to artificially grow the fruits and vegetables under lights and rely solely on the sun, they are not allowed to use hazardous chemical fertilizers that cause the product to grow much larger than normal (this is to make more money, despite the harm done to health).
They are also not allowed to use pesticides which again is another chemical that is bad for your health and is mainly there to stop fruits and vegetables spoiling due to pests eating it, so naturally, there is more waste but not all of what grows is for us to eat.
One of the most important things is that sometimes things that you might buy in the shop are (GMOs) this stands for genetically modified organisms, this is when a material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory via genetic engineering, this allows combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and virus genes which do not appear in nature.
Many foods are GMO, and consuming GMO’s are very bad for your health because they can accelerate aging, cause: organ damage, gastrointestinal disorders, and infertility.
Since they were invented in 1996, chronic illness has increased by 13 percent. GMO seeds continue to contaminate, self-propagating, cross-pollinating, threatening the health of future generations, it cannot be controlled.
GMOs are also herbicide resistant, which means more herbicide is needed to kill the plant, this can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.
Another problem is that the government do not require a GMO label to be used to identify such products, If you avoid GMO’s you are contributing to the rejection which will, in turn, force them out of our food supply.
Studies have shown that animals can tell if something is GMO and if given a choice avoid it. Genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms are prohibited in organic products.
If you are a meat-eater, buying organic is also so important. Meat that is classified as organic means that it has strict guidelines for the welfare of the animal.
The animal would have only ever eaten organic feed, which in turn makes the animal healthier. Would you rather eat meat from an animal that had a poor life, bad care, cheapest budget food, or an animal who has had more exercise, space, less-stress, and better quality nutrition?
What you put into your body is so important, and that could be said for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegs. What do you consider more important to you, your health and happiness or money? The organic label is still extremely important to me and my family, I would choose health and happiness any day!
We do understand that buying organic vegetables all the time can cost a fortune which is why we would highly recommend growing your own. Of course you can't grow everything by yourself but it will help a lot, and homegrown always tastes better too.
Start with organic produce like tomatoes for example and remove the seeds, you can sow them during spring for a summer harvest. If you dont want to go through the hassle of picking out the seeds yourself then you can buy seed selection packs online.