You are standing in the produce aisle. In one hand you hold an organic pear, and in the other, a conventional pear. They both look green, ripe and delicious.
In fact, the only difference you can perceive between the two is the price, as the organic pear costs approximately 30% more than the conventional one.
That’s because growing produce conventionally requires less expensive farming methods. I understand that for a business, saving money and increasing your bottom line is certainly desirable.
But at what point does cutting costs have other detrimental effects that outweigh monetary concerns?
So before you decide which pear you should buy, let’s dig a little deeper and really compare your two options.
Here are some of the of the main differences between conventional farming and organic farming:
Weed Control Practices
a) Conventional farmers use herbicides. Herbicides are essentially weed killers that vary in degrees in toxicity. In addition to being toxic, many conventional herbicides have an estrogenic effect. The conventional farmers argue that these weed killers have been tested and approved by the EPA.
This may be true, but I’m not buying into the “party line” that ingesting estrogenic weed killer on a regular basis won’t have any negative effects on my body.
b) Organic farmers control weeds in a more natural way. Instead of spraying poison on their food, these farmers weed by hand, put mulch down, use natural organic substances or use crop-rotating techniques to manage weeds.
a) Conventional farmers use commercial fertilizers to supply nutrients to the soil. This doesn’t sound so bad, right? Unfortunately, many of these fertilizers have been shown to contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium.
Also, like herbicides, these unnatural fertilizers tend to have an estrogen-mimicking effect.
b) Organic farmers fertilize their soil with natural substances such as manure or compost. The downside to using these natural fertilizers is that they can contain pathogens. To mitigate this risk, be sure to wash your produce in a good vegetable wash.
Insect and Pest Control
a) Conventional farmers spray insecticides to control pests. As is true with pesticides and herbicides, ingesting chemical insecticides (which is basically bug spray) on a regular basis simply cannot be a good idea.
b) Organic farmers use birds and chemical free traps to control pests. The only risk here is that some insects that would have been killed by poisonous sprays may now have the opportunity to wreck havoc on the produce.
This is another good reason to wash everything well with a vegetable wash.
a) Conventional farmers give massive amounts of antibiotics to animals in an attempt to prevent disease. In fact, livestock uses 80% of all antibiotics sold in the US. This is a staggering statistic. These drugs work their way into the animals’ milk and flesh; ingesting them on a regular basis is not a great idea for your long-term health.
b) Organic farmers prevent disease in an entirely different way. They raise their animals in an environment that simply doesn’t easily breed diseases. For instance, their animals are allowed to roam outside in the fresh air. Organic farms also have a high standard of clean housing.
This is in stark contrast to conventional farming, where for the sake of higher profits, animals are inhumanely crammed into tight, dirty spaces, which essentially becomes a breeding ground for disease.
Increased Turnover Speed
a) Conventional farmers give hormones to their livestock to increase growth rate. This allows for a faster turnover, larger animals, and more milk production.
These hormones get into the flesh and milk of the livestock, which are ultimately ingested by people.
Unfortunately, these hormones are not healthy for humans.
Thus, we have yet another example of a practice that is good for business, but bad for consumers like you and me.
b) Organic farmers use none of these methods. Growth rate, milk production and the size of animal are not altered from what nature intended.
And there you have it! Based on the many facts listed above, I think it is safe to say that organic gets the BIG edge over conventional. If you have the money, I highly recommend eating it.
Those two pears you were holding in the grocery store may look the same to the human eye, but my hope is that you can now appreciate how different they really are.
I hope that you will decide to take a long-term approach to your health and welfare and start buying organic whenever you can.
There are other valid reasons to consider going organic such as animal welfare and environmental concerns, but those topics are beyond the scope of this particular post.
I hope this helps you to become a more informed consumer. I look forward to running into a healthier YOU in the produce aisle!
Dedicated to your success,