What Is Organic Food?
September 27, 2023
Organic food has been a major trend with farmers and consumers alike for the past decade. These days, you can buy organic food in just about every grocery store. But many people don’t even know exactly what organic food is. Let’s dig into the five main types of organic food and the benefits they can bring!
Cheatsheet: Organic Food
🌿 Benefits of Organic Food
✨ Lower pesticide residues
✨ Higher nutritional value
✨ Richer in antioxidants
✨ Supports biodiversity
🌽 Organic vs. Conventional
✨ No synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
✨ No genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
✨ No antibiotics or growth hormones
✨ Fewer additives and preservatives
🌱 Health & Nutrition
✨ Lower risk of chronic diseases
✨ Increased intake of essential nutrients
✨ May reduce pesticide-related health problems
🌍 Environmental Impact
✨ Reduces soil erosion
✨ Protects water quality
✨ Promotes sustainable farming
✨ Decreases carbon footprint
🐝 Supporting Bee Populations
✨ Organic farms increase bee forage
✨ No neonicotinoid pesticides
✨ Helps combat declining bee populations
🥦 Tips for Buying Organic
✨ Look for the USDA Organic seal
✨ Buy locally grown organic produce
✨ Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program
What is organic food?
If you have organic production, you must limit pesticide use to a certain level and only certain types of pesticides may be used. Other organic foods like dairy and meat must be produced without hormones or antibiotics. While you can’t know exactly where it’s been and how it’s been grown, organic food is the second-best option to growing your own produce.
Food grown non-organically is referred to as conventionally-grown. Conventional food may contain pesticides under a more liberal legal limit. Conventional dairy and meat may be produced using approved antibiotics and hormones.
Types of organic food
When you think of organic food, your mind probably goes to fruits and vegetables first. While they may be the most common organic offerings, there are also benefits to eating organic dairy, meat, fish, and seafood. All of these types of organic food are readily available in grocery stores.
Fruit is one of the most common types of organic food. Conventional fruit tends to have a heavy pesticide residue, which makes them a good candidate for choosing organic.
Since insects are attracted to sweet, fruity smells, don’t expect your organic fruit to look “perfect.” While farmers will choose the best produce to sell, the absence of pesticides means that they may have blemishes or marks on their skin. However, they will taste just as good if not better than conventional fruit.
Vegetables are another common organic purchase. Since their peels and skins are often eaten, they are directly subjected to pesticide sprays. This means that eating organic vegetables can make a big difference in the amount of pesticide residue you and your family are exposed to.
Much like with fruit, organic vegetables may have imperfections in their shape or skin, but they are just as delicious (if not more!) on the inside.
The benefits of eating organic foods
There are a number of benefits to buying organic food:
- No pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones
- Can be more nutrient-rich
- Generally fresher in taste
- Better for the environment
Should kids eat organic foods?
When setting a grocery budget, many families wonder if they should buy organic food for their children. While there are hundreds of studies that seem to prove why you should or shouldn’t buy organic foods for your children, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- If your child is a picky eater, consider only buying the foods you know they love organically. If they’re trying a type of food for the first time, buy conventionally to save a little money.
- If your child has food sensitivities or allergies, buying organic can be a good idea. It controls many factors in farming so you truly know what you are eating.
- Buying organic foods can be a good way to teach your children about the effects of farming on the environment.
That being said, many doctors and nutritionists emphasize the “more is more” principle. While local, organic produce is ideal, it is more important that your children eat a wide variety and large quantity of produce.
If your budget allows for both quality and quantity, you can buy organic foods regularly. But if your budget is more limited, you may prefer to stick to buying the dirty dozen organically and purchasing the rest of your groceries conventionally.
Is organic food is healthier?
Although organic produce has numerous benefits, it’s not necessarily healthier for you and it’s worth remembering that food is not the only source of chemical exposure. How we garden, where we live, the cleaning products we use in our home and whether we treat our pets for parasites are all potential sources for increasing our chemical burden.
Why choose Organic food?
The choice of Organic food promotes better health and reduces exposure to harmful pesticides.
What is the difference between Organic and non-Organic food?
Organic food is grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Non-Organic food may contain these substances.
Is Organic food more nutritious?
Organic food may contain higher levels of certain nutrients and antioxidants compared to non-Organic food.
How is Organic food better for the environment?
Organic farming practices help preserve soil health, biodiversity, and reduce pollution.
Can Organic food help avoid antibiotic resistance?
Organic food is produced without using antibiotics in livestock, which can contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.
Is Organic food free from GMOs?
Organic food is grown without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and is free from their potential risks.
Does Organic food taste better?
Some people find that Organic food offers a more flavorful and natural taste.
Is Organic food more expensive?
Due to the additional costs of Organic farming practices, Organic food can be more expensive than non-Organic alternatives.
Where can I find Organic food?
Organic food can be found in dedicated Organic grocery stores, farmers markets, and many mainstream supermarkets.
How can I identify Organic food?
Look for the USDA Organic seal or check product labels for "100% Organic" or "Certified Organic" claims.
For those looking to make more mindful choices in their food purchases, organic seems to be a good way forward! Rather than using unsustainable and potentially harmful approaches, organic gardening methods can be a way to produce food that is more nutritiously dense, while nurturing and restoring the environment. Choosing organic food can be a wonderful way to encourage healthier lifestyles and promote a more sustainable planet.