This is a very scientific, moral and emotional debate for most. But for most, it comes to an issue of price. Is it worth it to buy/use organic food products? Over the last few years, the sale of organic food/products have sky rocketed from 178 Million in 1980 to 10 Billion in 2003. Being a foodie, I usually just buy what looks good, fresh and of course, won’t break my bank. Stepping in the grocery store, I usually head away from the organic aisle because, honestly, who could afford paying $2 to $3 more per pound for a pint of strawberries. For years I thought that the whole organic craze was a marketing ploy by the farming industry to take more consumer dollars.
But the more I observe, the more I start to believe that perhaps the food we eat do make a bigger difference than we think, I wondered why I even doubted this to begin with. Food is such a vital part of the component of how we develop mentally and physically, so it would make sense that the chemicals used in food, and the processes by which food is grown would be pivotal in how we grow and develop.
The below chart explains how conventional farmers operate and how organic farmers operate. What does this mean to your bottom line (monetarily) or health wise?
The one thing that is very vividly illustrated in the chart is that organic growing requires more work. Rotating crops definitely entails more work than spraying soil. If more man power is being utilized that would explain the higher cost.
Another clear note is that there are fewer chemicals used in the growing of organic items.
How does the use of insecticides, pesticides and herbicides affect you?
Even though Research has yet to prove an adverse health effect from consuming the lower levels of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, it has however, shown that high levels of pesticides can cause neurological or reproductive damage, especially in new infants and children under 12.
There is one cooking rule that I learned early on: go fresh or natural whenever possible. Though I am almost certain the pesticides levels in these foods are not deadly, I am sure after years of consumption they will have a negative impact on us and our systems. When I look around and see how tall some people are getting these days, and how big their feet are, and how hairy some people are (even women!) I worry about the food. I think perhaps these hormones and chemicals that are being pumped in these foods, are impacting the way we grow and develop as well. And that to me is not natural. I may not completely understand the debate over organic and non organic; I simply go back to basics. Whenever possible, go as natural as you can.
Chart by Mayo Clinic
|Conventional farmers||Organic farmers|
|Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.||Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.|
|Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease.||Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.|
|Use chemical herbicides to manage weeds.||Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.|
|Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.||Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.|
Nadege Fleurimond is the owner & business manager of Fleurimond Catering, Inc., www.fgcatering.com, an off-premise catering firm serving the NY/NJ/CT/MA areas. She is also the author of a Taste of Life: A Culinary Memoir, a humorous and heart warming compilation of recipes and funny anecdotes. (http://www.nadegefleurimond.com)
Please submit thoughts and questions pertaining to the column via email at email@example.com.