Sunday, May 1, 2016

Organic Food

Whether we are trying to heal or just seeking a better experience in life, it is good to go organic with our food.  Why?  Nutrition.  I feel that this is number one.  Second, it's a good idea for us humans to stop poisoning our air, our water, our soil, our selves, the animals, the plants, and the world.  Third, our nervous systems are tough, but they are also very sensitive.  Pesticides are neurotoxins. Neurotoxins damage or kill nervous systems.  That is what they are designed to do.  And we don't want that in our own bodies or in our planet's body either.

People will say, "But it's too expensive."  However, the big expense here lies in the unseen cost of non-organic foods.  Those foods with their heavy use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are polluting our earth, our bodies and our minds.  Their prices do not include the clean up cost for this pollution.  One day that bill will come due.  Until then our health will suffer and just like with the "Superfunds" which are spent cleaning up industrial accidents, we tax payers will pay.  I'd rather respect the garden by preventing the toxic spill in the first place and pay the farmer a living wage for protecting me, her family and the meadow lark too.

It is true that organic produce costs more, but there are reasons for the higher price.  Organic produce has to meet higher quality standards and tougher regulations than conventionally grown produce.  This requires extra labor and that is what raises the price.  Also, our government has programs that subsidize the production of food.  But organic foods are not included in these subsidies, only non-organic food stuffs are subsidized and these are largely the ones used in the junk food industries, like corn and soy. 

Some people say that organically grown does not mean organically shipped.  They assert that toxins and fumigants are used on the food in shipping.  But this is simply not true.  Mexico, the EU, Canada and the United States all accept each others governmental organic food certifications and standards. All of those standards are very strict.  The value of the U.S. organic market is too great for any organic importers to risk sloppy practices.  If an international shipment is forced to be fumigated, it can no longer be sold as organic.  If shipments are even held at the border for testing of suspected pests, this delay can cause great damage to the produce and it may become unsalable.  So growers go to extreme lengths to ship high quality and extremely clean organic produce.
When foods are grown organically, the plants bodies take up the broad spectrum of natural nutrition from the soil.  This is like a rainbow in it's complexity and gradation of colors and it is very different from non-organically grown food.  Non-organic foods are grown in nutritionally depleted soils which are compensated for with commercial fertilizers.  These fertilizers are typically made from industrial waste products.  This is likely why organic foods are richer in naturally occurring organic acids and in polyphenolic compounds.  These acids and compounds are antioxidants which lend great benefit to human health.  As well organic foods have significant flavor differences.  When a nectarine tastes like amazing piece of adult candy instead of a raw and mealy potato, it is much more likely to be included in our diet.

Some years back I heard a statistic on how we in the modern west pay a smaller percentage of our income on food costs than any other group of people in recorded history.  Even still, sometimes our budgets are so tight that we feel we just truly can not afford the higher price for organic food in the grocery store.  In this situation, fortunately, we still have a wonderfully viable option, our local farmer's market.  

Not all farmers grow organically, many of them do not.  However, many who do grow organically can not afford to pay the price of organic certification, yet they choose to hold firmly to organic standards none the less.  So here is another avenue, allowing us to stand behind organic principles, by simply getting to know our local growers.  After they get to know you, most farmers are happy to have you come out to see their farms.  

Most small family farmers have no more interest in poisoning themselves and their children with toxic pesticides and fertilizers than they do in poisoning their land or you.  Organic farming practices have been with us for millennia.  While non-organic practices, have been with us for only a handful of decades.  So go to the farmers market, meet the growers.  Find the ones who never do any spraying or commercial fertilizing.  There are some real green thumbs out there who grow great non-certified, yet organic food, full of nutrition, very inexpensively.  It couldn't be fresher and it will fuel you on your way with powerful nutrition.

So do yourself a favor.  Feed yourself well and tend to the garden at the same time.  Eliminate the poisons from your body and from our world by supporting what supports you and all of the rest of life.  We hold the key right inside our pocket books.  It's a small change there, but a massive change in our own health and in the well being of our entire world.

© Josephine Laing, 2016

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