Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why eat organic?

I’d like to tackle another popular food topic today: Why eat organically grown food? I’m going to hop right into this one…

Reduce toxic chemical exposure. On average the human body contains at least 700 contaminants. This is a result of breathing contaminated air, drinking contaminated water, and eating contaminated foods. Do we really want to ingest more chemicals? At least 400 different pesticides are routinely used on conventionally grown produce. In general, pesticides are not harmless--many have been linked to cancer.

Increased nutrients. Studies have shown that organically grown produce is higher in anti-oxidants and other nutrients as compared to conventionally grown produce. I think most of us have trouble meeting the USDA guidelines of 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Do we really want to rob ourselves of more nutrients by not eating organic?

Organic farming fights global warming: I’d like to share an excerpt about a Rodale Institute research trial I came across:

“The Rodale Institute's groundbreaking Farming Systems Trial, the
world's longest running study of organic farming, has documented that
organic soils actually scrub the atmosphere of global warming gases by capturing
atmospheric carbon dioxide and converting it into soil material. This is the
first study to document that organic farming techniques create robust carbon

"Organic farming is a powerful new tool in the global warming
arsenal," said Anthony Rodale, chairman of the The Rodale Institute. "It puts
agriculture into a lead role in regenerating the environment."

Through a process called carbon sequestration, plants and soils act
as "sinks" for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon "sequestered" in vegetation
and soil is not readily released as carbon dioxide, providing a significant
boost in the efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. While carbon helps
stimulate plant growth, scientists estimate carbon dioxide may be responsible for more than 80 percent of global warming.

Although it's not a "silver bullet," carbon sequestration can become
a powerful component of a multi-pronged approach to managing the issue of
global warming. Since 1981, The Rodale Institute has monitored soil carbon
and nitrogen levels in scientifically controlled test fields using organic as
well as a wide range of other farming methods. In the organic systems, soil
carbon increased 15 to 28 percent.

These results are the extension of findings first published in the
journal Nature in 1999 and have undergone additional peer review.”


There are many more reasons to eat organically grown foods, but I think I’ll stop here for today. In closure, I say good for us—good for the environment—what more could we want? Go organic! :)

If you would like to explore more information on organic food—try the Organic Consumer Association’s website:


Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, School of Health Sciences


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