There is much argument and opinion bantering back and forth on the validity of purchasing organically grown foods. However, there are also plain facts that we can use to help us assess why or if such a purchasing decision is really such a good idea and whether it is, as many would say, imperative for the health of ourselves, the planet, and the generations to follow.
Every year some 450 billion pounds of pesticides, many of which are highly toxic, are sprayed on our food crops playing a major role in bee colony collapse disorder, where for the past four years, bee colonies have diminished by a third in numbers every year. At this rate bees could face extinction and because of their role in pollination, our food supply would be threatened. The health of ecosystems is dependent upon an intricate balance, where if one part is destroyed the whole system begins to unravel. In extreme cases this can lead to dead zones where nothing will grow any more. Oil spills such as the one in The Gulf of Mexico and many others, have exacerbated an already dramatic decline in natural systems that if left alone might recover, but could take hundreds of years. Worldwide there are somewhere close to 500 of these dead zones. The worst thing is that none of this is necessary. Organic and biodynamic farming as well as permaculture design, and especially regenerative farming, offer a systematic approach to working with nature rather than against it and frankly collaboration in every area of life is key to a healthy future for all of us.
Going pesticide free not only benefits us with a supply of healthful produce, it also ensures freedom from poisoning for the hundreds of thousands of workers who pick our produce from the fields, workers who currently experience a much higher incidence of cancer due to pesticide exposure. Things sprayed on the fields also end up in our drinking water and then our bodies. Pesticides act as xeno-estrogens, upsetting our delicate hormonal balance and leading to increased cancer, weight loss, and other problems for ourselves and our pets. In addition, conventional agriculture strips the soil and washes away valuable topsoil that under normal circumstances can take somewhere around 500 years to regenerate just one inch of. Healthy soil is full of life on a microbial level that yields healthy plants, and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and puts it back into the ground via roots. Pesticides kill those microbes and diminish the health of the soil.
By choosing organic you are also choosing more nutrient dense foods, which means you stay healthier and spend less on doctors visits. This offsets the higher cost of organic produce. Our choices also send a message to our stores and farmers, that it is worth their while to grow organic.