Going Organic - But Why Should We Consider It?
By Liz Barrington, Natural Body Healing
Everyone has heard about organic farming. Yet, are we really helping
the environment by going organic, or is it just another ploy by
supermarkets or local farmers to charge more for their produce?
In fact, organic farming is becoming
increasingly necessary to each and every one of us, as the world
around us becomes more ‘toxic’. It’s important for our well-being as individuals and also for the health of
Any imbalance in nature, as we are now
discovering, can last for generations or it can even be
permanent. Going organic is in fact a long-term
investment in the welfare of us all. So what exactly is ‘organic
Organic farming is about creating a ‘natural balance’ and
maintaining equilibrium by adopting environmentally-friendly
ways of cultivating the land – working in harmony with ‘Mother
Nature’, rather than working against her. Organic farmers use
techniques that mirror naturally-occurring systems which have
been practised for hundreds of centuries without the use of
chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
Yet, organic farmers also rely on a modern,
scientific understanding of ecology and soil science. Examples
of specific techniques adopted include the use of horse and
sheep dung to develop rich, fertile soil; the growth of a
mixture of crops in a single field or a garden plot to achieve a
natural healthy balance in the soil and effective weed and pest
control; and also the need for crop rotation to ensure the soil
is ‘rested’ sufficiently and not depleted of essential
‘Modern’ organic farming began in the late 1940’s as a result of
the increased use of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers that
were used following the First World War. In fact, chemical
pesticides were originally developed by the Germans, but for very different purposes - as ‘endocrine suppressors’. Because
of their ability to disrupt and destroy life, these chemicals
were to be used as chemical weapons during
Since then, there has been growing concern about the level of
environmental damage caused by pesticides and other
agrochemicals. This damage can easily be shown in our
diminishing wildlife, increasingly nutrient-deficient crops
and higher levels of obesity and illness within our
If man-made chemicals can cause so much damage to
wildlife – what damage are these chemicals doing
to us? Humans have highly-sensitised cells, tissues and organs that
rely upon the complex actions of vulnerable enzymes, hormones
and other biochemical reactions every second of the day and
In non-organic farming, as many as 450 chemicals can be
routinely used. Throughout their growth period, many crops are sprayed 20-30 times with both water and fat-soluble
chemicals that subsequently enter our bodies and remain there for many months
and even years, contributing to cellular malfunction and
disease. What’s more, chemicals also destroy the natural
micro-organisms in the earth. These are essential for the plant to assimilate important minerals from the soil which give the plant its nutritive value.
Today, organic standards are extensive, covering a wide range of
farming, growing and food manufacturing practices. Across the
world, different countries stipulate their own standards,
which are overseen by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic
You perhaps already know that organic
food does not necessarily mean completely ‘chemical-free’
produce. A very limited number of ‘less harmful’ chemicals are
allowed in organic production on a restricted basis. Organic
standards however, do not allow the use of artificial herbicides
It may seem that there is little we can do to change the damage
that pesticides and agrochemicals are causing to our environment.
However, the truth is that the actions of all of us have both
positive and negative impacts on the world in which we live. If
every individual reduces his or her negative impact, then
collectively we can make a huge difference. But, why should
we care about our environment?
We are what we eat:
Our own health is connected to the quality of the food we
eat and ultimately the health of the soil. Impoverished
soil cultivates nutrient-deficient crops. It is therefore healthier to eat organic food. There is nothing tastier than eating
home-produced food, gathered fresh from the garden or from a
local organic farmer. We can rest assured that it's completely
natural, relatively uncontaminated, tasty, fresh and packed
full of nutrients and essential enzymes.
Better for our health:
If we reduce the use of harmful chemicals in
our homes, we'll become healthier. Computers, air-conditioning units, dust,
cleaning fluids, dyes, glues, paint, detergents, soft
furnishing, insulation, and many chemical-based health and
beauty products all produce or contain toxins that affect our well-being.
If you make an effort to buy eco-friendly cleaners, washing powder
and washing-up liquid, you'll reduce your exposure to
toxins and they won’t have such a detrimental effect on our
treated and natural water supplies.
Great for wildlife:
If you can, try to avoid the use of harmful pesticides and other agrochemicals
in your garden. We've seen dramatic decreases in
insect populations around the world - these bugs are
essential as they provide food to other wildlife, help in
the decomposing of natural waste, and also help
cross-fertilise our fruit and vegetables through
pollination. Organic gardens and farming methods are
much friendlier to the environment, resulting in a greater
diversity of butterflies, bees, other insects, birds, worms,
amphibians and mammals - each of which contributes to nature’s
Conserving energy - less impact on nature’s resources:
Organic techniques reduce our dependence on non-renewable
resources. The world’s population is increasing, yet many
of our resources are in limited supply. We can help secure
our future by opting for sustainable renewable resources and
Minimise our waste and recycling:
Because of our 'disposable' attitudes in the developed world, we produce an increasing amount of
waste. This waste ranges from pollution omissions, energy
in the home or at work, packaging, old appliances and cars,
as well as kitchen and garden waste. Simply leaving the TV set on
‘standby’ generates an additional 200,000 tonnes of carbon
dioxide each year. So, how can we be more careful? How do
we dispose of our waste safely? Where can we put our waste
material today and in the future? Being aware of these
issues, taking responsibility for our own waste and actively getting involved with recycling and
waste reduction are important solutions that will help minimise our overall waste.
Local solutions to global issues: Going organic encourages an individual to act at a local level, yet
have a better understanding about how our actions impact the
wider world. Both as an individual, and within a group, we
can collectively put pressure on politicians and global
suppliers to become more environmentally-friendly and make
our world a healthier place to live.
Going organic is not just about organic food – it should become
a way of life. The purchase of organic gardening products,
cleaning products, health and beauty products, clothes, the
consumption of environmentally-friendly energy – the list is
endless - will all help to reduce the detrimental effect that our
farms, homes, gardens, towns and cities are having upon the
wider natural environment.
Here are a couple of good UK suppliers of fresh, mostly 'local' organic produce who will deliver direct to your door:
Furthermore, here is a up-and-coming Spanish business supplying
the Costa Blanca coast in Spain:
So, to summarise .. why should you support
Organic food tastes better - this
overwhelming view of most people who eat organic.
Organic fruit and vegetables have been
shown in a number of studies to contain more vitamins,
nutrients and cancer fighting anti-oxidants than non-organic
Organic farming methods aim to avoid the
use of artificial chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers.
Organic food is produced without the
laboratory-created GMO's, which are prohibited in the Soil
Association's standards for organic food and farming.
Organic farming places greater emphasis
on animal welfare and that of mankind too.
Organic food is produced without the
routine use of antibiotics.
Organic farming reduces the dependency on
non-renewable resources. We all should care about the
future health and welfare of our planet.
Organic production is more sustainable
and friendlier to the environment and wildlife.
There has never been a case of BSE
in an organic dairy herd.
Organic farming methods rely on a modern
and scientific understanding of ecology and soil science,
whilst also depending on traditional methods of crop
rotations to ensure fertility and weed and pest control.
Going organic does not necessarily mean turning your life upside down, but
it can help to change our lives for the better. More importantly,
we will help to create a sustainable future and legacy for our
grandchildren and their grandchildren alike.