Organic farming is sustainable

Denmark wants to go 100% organic and is planning to turn over vast swathes of land to organic farming. Bhutan (with a population of fewer than 1 million) is also on the same path, banning the use of pesticides.

 

Why choose organic?

Buying organic is more expensive so why would anyone want to do it? There are several reasons why it benefits our health and environment:

•No pesticides on food;
•More vital minerals and vitamins;
•Fewer food additives;
•No routine antibiotics in meat;
•BSE free animals;
•No GM ingredients;
•Better for the environment.
Fewer food additives

Organic produce uses natural preservatives and colourings as opposed to man-made additives, often listed as E numbers, which can cause allergies and other health problems.

One of the criticisms levelled at organic food is that it doesn’t last very long – a pint of milk may go off in a few days, but this is entirely as nature intended because it does not contain artificial preservatives!

No GM ingredients

Organic food that has been certified by the Soil Association has no GM ingredients, which are often included in foods without consumers knowing.

Better for the environment

As for the environment there can be little argument that a system which promotes the ecosystem, biodiversity of plants and animals, and maintains a cleaner, less toxic, environment is beneficial. Organic farming also creates lower greenhouse gases and is more energy efficient.

Spraying crops has a detrimental effect on the environment as the chemicals get into the water supply and affect the countryside and ultimately end up in our taps, which is very costly.

However, there isn’t much point in eating organic food if it has to be brought 13,000 miles to the table because it defeats the object. The produce isn’t fresh and it’s contributed to polluting the atmosphere in its transportation!

Organic box schemes use good local produce as do some shops and farmers’ markets

Avoiding pesticides

If people realised how many times their salad leaves, fruit or vegetables had been sprayed with pesticides they probably wouldn’t want to eat them. Some fresh produce is sprayed as much as 17 times before it gets to our plates.

More vital vitamins and minerals

Most people believe that if they have their five portions of fruit and vegetables a day they are eating healthily. Unfortunately intensive farming has depleted the soil of the nine essential minerals we need:

  • selenium
  • chromium
  • iron
  • manganese
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • zinc
  • copper
  • boron

Organic farming – for fruit and vegetables

Organic farming uses soil and compost which has not been treated with chemicals.

•Organically grown composts and manures contain a wide variety of minerals which are lacking in over-farmed soil;
•Crop rotation also helps to prevent the soil being depleted of vital minerals.

Non-organic crops are subject to:

•Fertilisers to encourage growth;
•Pesticides to keep away harmful insects and animals;
•Fungicides to prevent mould;
•Herbicides to kill weeds;
•Insecticides

Meat and Poultry

So what is organic meat?

If it’s all about spraying crops why is this relevant to eating animals?

•Organically reared animals are fed real food which has not been treated with pesticides and without genetically modified (GM) ingredients;
•The standards laid down by the Soil Association which approves organic products mean that animals are reared in a free range environment;
•They are only given antibiotics when preventative and complementary medicine have failed.
Non-organically reared animals are regularly given antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease. Unfortunately this means that residues of the drugs are in the meat and getting into human systems. Too many antibiotics make our bodies resistant to their effects so that when they are needed to fight infection they may not be so effective.

According to the Soil Association total farm antibiotic use has increased by 11 per cent in three years, and each British pig receives over three times the weight of antibiotics than its Danish counterpart! Organic bacon sandwiches are lovely!
The Soil Association standards prevent any animal not born or reared on an organic farm being sold as organic meat.
The Soil Association provides certification for organic food: www.soilassociation.org.uk , tel no: 0117 314 5000