What is Organic and Why all the fuss?
Over the last few years organic foods have become a bit of a fad. If something is labelled organic we seem to think it’s healthier or tastier, as well as trusting celebrities who swear by organic foods for weight loss.
But what does organic really mean? Is it healthier? Does it taste better?
And are the foods really as organic as we think?
To me, thinking of ‘organic’ conjures an image of a small old fashioned farm, with a homestyle, holistic approach to farming. That’s me just being idealistic as usual- the truth is that the organic food we find in our supermarkets are mass produced just like all the other foods, some are even made by the same companies in a small subsection which they have adjusted to comply with the organic standards to become certified.
Organic foods are those that have been produced without modern synthetic inputs like pesticides and chemical fertilisers and processed without industrial solvents or chemical food additives and the livestock must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
The best place to get true organic foods is to grow them yourself! Or at local farmers markets and certified produce stores.
To be certified as organic the producers and growers have to be audited to ensure that their production methods comply to the national standards.
Some of the ways that producers manage the health of the soil and plants without chemicals are using green manure, compost and natural minerals as well as carefully planned crop rotations an natural methods of pest and weed control.
Although many studies have shown that an organic farm uses less energy and is claimed to be better for the environment, from doing some further reading I discovered that these figures often aren’t calculated per unit or size, that to make crops of the same size each way at some farms the organic farming process actually uses more resources and takes much longer.
If you do want to cut down the chemicals in your diet and switch to organic be sure that it is a certified product. Companies can use the word organic in their names and advertising without actually being organic at all (or just a very small part of the product is made that way) so be sure to do your reading properly!
People choose organic for many different reasons- usually not because of the cost! The cost of certified organic food is usually about three times what you would pay for the same foods without the label.
So next time that you think you are being green because your eating ‘organic’ think about what it actually is, and really weigh up what it means to you now that you have some more of the facts.
One product I absolutely stand by is anything that is cruelty free, such as free range meats and eggs. I plan to do a bit more research into the guidelines for what allows these foods to be labelled this way as well so keep an eye out for that upcoming post. As always please feel free to share with me any stories, links or good sites relating to organic or cruelty free options in foods. I LOVE the feedback!
Some Organic Grocers in Melbourne-