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Apr 22 / Dollar Sophia

Is Organic Better?

A young lady from Dallas, Texas has recently been all over the internet for her work with fruit flies feeding on organic and conventional produce. Her results? Organic fed fruit flies were better off…See her research article here.

Is organic better? Yes, we think so. Organic produce, in the simplistic terms, is free of chemicals and pesticides. Now, we know humans are not fruit flies, but her research paves the way for additional studies on the health benefits of organic vs. conventionally grown foods.

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Here are some key differences between conventional farming and organic farming:

Conventional

Organic

  • Apply chemical fertilizers to promote
    plant growth.
  • Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
  • Spray synthetic insecticides to reduce
    pests and disease.
  • Spray pesticides from natural sources; use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
  • Use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds.
  • Use environmentally-generated plant-killing compounds; 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.

 

Organic Regulations Include (non-gmo website here):

• Prohibit the use of chemical fertilizers, various synthetic substances, irradiation, sewage sludge, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic production.

• Prohibit antibiotic and synthetic hormone use in organic meat and poultry.

• Require 100% organic feed for organic livestock.

• When the product is labeled “100% organic,” “organic,” or just “made with organic ingredients,” then even the non-organic ingredients cannot be produced from GMOs. For example, products labeled as “made with organic ingredients” only require 70% of the ingredients to be organic, but 100% must be non-GMO.

What Can You Do?

Whether you go totally organic or opt to mix conventional and organic foods, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

• Select a variety of foods from a variety of sources. This will give you a better mix of nutrients and reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single pesticide.

• Buy fruits and vegetables in season when possible. To get the freshest produce, ask your grocer what day new produce arrives. Or check your local farmers market.

• Read food labels carefully. Just because a product says it’s organic or contains organic ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.

• Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Washing helps remove dirt, bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits and vegetables. Not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing, though. You can also peel fruits and vegetables, but peeling can mean losing some fiber and nutrients.

WSU Farmers Market Wednesdays May-October2WSU Farmer’s Market: Open June 5! 11-4p Every Wednesday through October! Shop locally grown produce, flowers, and more!

2 Comments

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  1. Dollar Sophia / Apr 26 2013

    Thanks, Dawn! I think you’re right, “whenever possible” is the idea to have. A lot of families don’t live near a Whole Foods or market that provides organic. However, it’s becoming more popular and you just have to be mindful when you’re shopping. Meijer has a good variety! And another thing to remember, we’re not just talking organic produce from the fresh section – we’re talking about all products organic (cereal, snacks, milk products, meat, etc.)!

  2. Dawn Bielawski / Apr 25 2013

    Thanks for posting this Sophia! It’s so important that people are made aware of the health benefits of eating pesticide-free, non-GMO food whenever possible.

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