Let’s go farming: Organic Foods


What you need to know

Is organic food really healthier? Is it worth the expense? Find out what the labels mean and which foods give you the most for your money.

What does ‘organic’ mean?

The term ‘organic’ refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed.  While the regulations vary from country to country, generally organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers, or bio-engineered genes (GMOs).

Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must be raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviours (such as the ability to graze on pasture) and fed organic feed and forage. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.

Organic Produce  Conventionally grown produce
·         Grown with natural fertilisers (manure, compost).

·         Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand-weeding, mulching, and tilling) or with organic-approved herbicides.

·         Pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and naturally-derived pesticides.

·         Livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed.

·         Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet.

·         Livestock must have access to the outdoors.

·         Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilisers.

·         Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides

·         Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides

·         Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides

·         Livestock are given growth hormones for fast growth, as well as non-organic feed

·         Antibiotics and medication are used to prevent livestock disease.

The benefits of organic food

How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health, as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts; and people with allergies to foods, chemicals or preservatives may find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.

Organic produce contains fewer pesticides: Chemicals such as synthetic fungicides, herbicides and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture, and residue remains on (and in) the food we eat.

Organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer: Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from/produced) on smaller farms nearer to where it is sold.

Organic farming tends to be better for the environment: Organic farming practices may reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility and use less energy. Farming without synthetic pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals, as well as people who live close to farms.

Organically-raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal by-products: Feeding livestock animal by-products increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE), and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals tend to be given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which helps to keep them healthy.

Organic meat and milk can be richer in certain nutrients: Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

Organic food is GMO-free: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding – most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

Share your organic story (photo, story or both) with us and let’s share to encourage others. Send to: [email protected]

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