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10 Good Reasons To Go Organic

1. Organic products meet stringent standards
Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.

2. Organic food tastes great!
It’s common sense – well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.

3. Organic production reduces health risks
Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.

4. Organic farms respect our water resources
The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.

5. Organic farmers build healthy soil
Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.

6. Organic farmers work in harmony with nature
Organic agricultural respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fence rows, wetlands, and other natural areas.

7. Organic producers are leaders in innovative research
Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

8. Organic producers strive to preserve diversity
The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns. The good news is that many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing unusual varieties for decades.

9. Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy
USDA reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can command fair prices for crops.

10. Organic abundance – Foods and non-foods alike!
Now every food category has an organic alternative. And non-food agricultural products are being grown organically – even cotton, which most experts felt could not be grown this way.

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Antibiotics in Our Food

What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are substances used to destroy specific types of bacteria and other microorganisms for the treatment of infection. They are often created and synthesized from other microorganisms, while they are found to act on the vital processes inside the cells of bacteria, interfering in the creation of bacterial proteins, thus leading to the destruction of the harmful elements.

Each antibiotic has its own spectrum of bacteria which are susceptible to damage by its action. But there are also strains of bacteria that become resistant to a certain antibiotic. In case that occurs, the treatment should be changed to a different type of antibiotic. This is the reason why a bacterial culture is usually recommended to people whose bacterial infection is of unknown cause. Identification of the actual bacteria causing the disease is vital for diagnosis especially in determining which antibiotic to be prescribed for treatment. On the other hand, too much of the wrong antibiotic in the body may lead to the formation of resistant strains of the same bacteria.

Antibiotics in our food

In modern conventional farming, animals such as cows, pigs, and chicken are given antibiotics and hormones to promote the growth thereof. Unfortunately, this can cause resistant bacterial strains to occur. The utilization of growth hormones can also cause the animals to wear down earlier than expected. As a consequence, the milk from cows undergoing antibiotic growth therapy will show elevated levels of growth factor. This growth factor has been shown to be elevating the risk for cancer for milk drinkers.

The increase in the number of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to bacteria is already becoming a major problem. This can mostly be accounted for the giving of antibiotics to animals in farms. Its contribution to the problem is even greater than the excessive prescription of antibiotics to humans by physicians. These animals are given these antibiotics in order to enhance their growth as well as prevent diseases from occurring in stressed, jammed farm animals. Studies have shown that farm animals use more than half of all the antibiotics used in Australia as compared to people. For this reason, the World Health Organization has suggested a decrease in the antibiotics use in agriculture.

The Organic Alternative

In organic farming, the need to enhance the growth of animals is answered by taking better care of the farm animals by providing their needs, keeping their barns clean and other maintenance procedures. Some even go to the extent of making them feel at home wherein they let them graze in the mountains instead of staying indoors all day. Here, antibiotics are also used but only when necessary.

It is always important to take care of oneself by eating the right amount and kind of food, especially the processes wherein certain foods undergo. It is saddening to know that not all the food that we eat is really natural and nutritious as we like to think they are. Advances in agriculture and science, specifically the creation of antibiotics, have helped in ensuring the health of a majority of living organisms, but these also pose a threat to our general welfare if they are misused or abused.

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How is organic “Eco-friendly”?

How does Organic Farming and the consumption of Organic Food links to the Eco movement? How is it eco-friendly?

Here are a few points to ponder:

1. Energy
Currently, we use around 10 calories of fossil energy to produce one calorie of food energy. In a fuel-scarce future, which experts think could arrive as early as 2012, such numbers simply won’t stack up.

On average, organically grown crops use 25% less energy than their chemical cousins. When these savings are combined with stringent energy conservation and local distribution and consumption (such as organic box schemes), energy-use dwindles to a fraction of that needed for an intensive, centralised food system.

2. Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change
The production of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, which is indispensable to conventional farming, produces vast quantities of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential some 320 times greater than that of CO2. The techniques used in organic agriculture to enhance soil fertility in turn encourage crops to develop deeper roots, which increase the amount of organic matter in the soil, locking up carbon underground and keeping it out of the atmosphere.

3. Water Use
Agriculture is officially the most thirsty industry on the planet, consuming a staggering 72 per cent of all global freshwater. Organic agriculture is different. Due to its emphasis on healthy soil structure, organic farming avoids many of the problems associated with compaction, erosion, salinisation and soil degradation, which are prevalent in intensive systems.

4. Localization
Food transport accounted for more than 30 billion vehicle kilometres, 25 per cent of all HGV journeys and 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2002 alone. The organic movement was born out of a commitment to provide local food for local people, and so it is logical that organic marketing encourages localisation through veg boxes, farm shops and stalls. As we enter an age of unprecedented food insecurity, it is essential that our consumption reflects not only what is desirable, but also what is ultimately sustainable.

5. Pesticides
A spiralling dependence on pesticides throughout recent decades has resulted in a catalogue of repercussions, including pest resistance, disease susceptibility, loss of natural biological controls and reduced nutrient-cycling.

Organic farmers, on the other hand, believe that a healthy plant grown in a healthy soil will ultimately be more resistant to pest damage. Organic systems encourage a variety of natural methods to enhance soil and plant health, in turn reducing incidences of pests, weeds and disease.

6. EcoSystem Impact
Organic farms actively encourage biodiversity in order to maintain soil fertility and aid natural pest control. Mixed farming systems ensure that a diversity of food and nesting sites are available throughout the year, compared with conventional farms where autumn sow crops leave little winter vegetation available.

Biodiversity is enhanced at every level of the food chain under organic management practices, from soil micro-biota right through to farmland birds and the largest mammals.

7. Food Biodiversity
Seeds are not simply a source of food; they are living testimony to more than 10,000 years of agricultural domestication. Tragically, 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost over the past 100 years. Modern intensive agriculture depends on relatively few crops – only about 150 species are cultivated on any significant scale worldwide.

Seed-saving and the development of local varieties is a key component of organic farming, giving crops the potential to evolve in response to what could be rapidly changing climatic conditions. This will help agriculture keeps pace with climate change in the field, rather than in the laboratory.

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