Good morning, and welcome back!
We’ve talked a lot about organic and sustainable gardening. So perhaps we should review exactly why we are doing this in first place…. This is the topic of today’s post.
If you have gone to the doctor, chances are at some point he or she has told you to watch what you eat. If you have been eating the right amount of fish, meat, fruits and vegetables then you may think you have nothing to worry about. But because some of these contain harmful chemicals, many people have started switching to organically grown vegetables and other food products.
So exactly why is this a concern? Many commercially grown products, besides being treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, have been genetically modified. Farmers have used various techniques, chemicals and fertilizers to make fruits and vegetables grow bigger, even if this may be dangerous to your health. (Or, as is the case with GM foods, we don’t exactly know the long-term effects they may have.)
No magic or anything fancy is used to make organically grown crops. You only need fertile soil, sunlight, water and some compost to make it work.
A recent study shows that following this simple plan helps vegetables have 50% more vitamins and minerals than those grown using conventional methods. If you eat them regularly, you are able to have a healthier life.
You will probably enjoy your food more too as organically grown vegetables often taste much better! This is because although fertilizers and pesticides have their advantages, they result in stripped and over-used soil. Plants subsist on the chemicals, instead of on the essential vitamins and nutrients that used to be there, so you are not getting the required daily allowance that your body needs. In short, you may think you are eating right, but in reality, your body is missing out.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in buying food from the supermarket is that the US imports a lot of vegetables from countries that use a lot of chemicals – sometimes even worse than what are used here at home. It can be difficult to regulate “organic” standards in another country, so eating local is the best way to go, if you can.
Another benefit of eating organic vegetables and food is that you help the environment, as organic farmers generally use more sustainable practices, and replenish the soil as they use it.
This even helps the community, as land which they have worked on can be planted by the next generation because the land that has been cultivated for so long is still fertile.
When you go to the supermarket, one thing you will notice is that the price of organically grown vegetables and other items are sometimes much more expensive than those conventionally grown.
Should you always buy something just because it is cheaper? In the case of food, the answer is no because you can’t put a price on the lives of those who eat it.
As more people buy organic food and support organic growers, these farmers will be able to provide more and more to local supermarkets, and thus the price of organic items will go down. (At least in theory!)
However, large-scale organic farms often don’t operate as sustainably as they should, so if at all possible, it is best to buy from local farmers, whose farms you are familiar with. Buying through a local farmer’s market or CSA is a great way to go.
Or, you can grow your own! (See previous newsletters, or click the link to visit our main website, for more info on how to do this.)
With a little help and encouragement, hopefully the majority of people will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of organically grown vegetables and fruits.
Keep your eye out for next week’s post, and ’til then – happy gardening!