Most of the food we eat is produced by very large commercial farms. In order to manage such large operations, a wide range of chemicals are used to manage disease and pests. With most of the meat and milk produced on large farms, hormones are used to increase production and preservatives are used to increase shelf life. With large vegetable farms, genetically modified plants are commonly used to increase profit. There is a large movement of people who believe that these chemicals in their food have negative effects on human health, and in the case of GM crops, the environment. Farms that produce organic food must use fewer chemicals, and no hormones or gentically modified crops. Genetically modified organisms are plants or animals that are developed in a genetics lab to give an organism various unnatural characteristics, such as a “suicide” gene that causes the seed stock to be infertile, or a genetic “marker” which allows a company to identify their crop from a natural crop. GMO’s have not been around long enough for us to know what the long term resultsmay be, and much of the data on GMO foods is very troubling, which is why I try to avoid them if possible.
I like to buy locally produced organic food because I like to know who is growing my food. The main foods that I make sure to buy organic are any root type veggies, meat, and milk. Roots are the part of the plant that trap many of the contaminants from the water/soil, which is why I like to make sure my potatoes and carrots are grown organically. For fruits like strawberries or apples, I believe that pesticides can be washed off. Regardless of whether my fruits and veggies are organic or not, I always try to avoid eating genetically modified food. When I buy meat and milk, I usually buy organic because I do not want to ingest hormones or other chemicals that are injected into the animals. Organic junk foods are probably not worth the extra money because of the small quantity consumed. When buying organic, the best way to know you are getting what you pay for is to buy from local farmers. Many local farmers will encourage customersto come out and visit their farms. After all, why would’nt a person want to know where their food really comes from?
Organic food is more expensive than the alternative because the quality is generally higher. The quality of the food we eat has a direct relationship to the way we feel and if you want to feel better, a good place to start is by eating better. Aside from the hormones and chemicals used in non organic food, many non-organic foods do not contain as many nutrients as their organic counterparts. Buying local organic food is worth the extra cost because of the health benefits, the environmental benefits, and the benefit of contributing to your local economy.