May 10, 2008
“If people really understood the connection of environmental damage to their own lives, they would be much more motivated to preserve and protect the environment.”
–Dr. Eric Chivian, director of Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, in Veterinary World, Spring 1999.
Benefit of organic
Organic agriculture protects the health of people and the planet by reducing the overall exposure to toxic chemicals from synthetic pesticides that can end up in the ground, air, water and food supply, and that are associated with health consequences, from asthma to cancer. Because organic agriculture doesn’t use toxic and persistent pesticides, choosing organic products is an easy way to help protect yourself.
Organic growers use biological and cultural practices as their first line of defense against pests. Methods include crop rotation, the selection of resistant varieties, nutrient and water management, the provision of habitat for the natural enemies of pests, and release of beneficial organisms to protect crops from damage. The only pesticides that allowed in organic agricultural must be on an approved use, with restricted use.
* Reporting on its study examining pesticide residues in foods bought around the country, Consumer Reports in January 1998 noted: “Our side-by-side tests of organic, green-labeled, and conventional unlabeled produce found that organic foods had consistently minimal or nonexistent pesticide residue.”
Source: “Greener Greens? The Truth about Organic Foods,” Consumer Reports, January 1998, page 13.
May 3, 2008
Eating organic food could have benefits for health, researchers at a North university have found.
A study by Dr Kirsten Brandt at Newcastle University used analysis of organic carrots, apples and potatoes to reveal greater concentrations of vitamin C and chemicals that can protect the body against heart attacks and cancer.
The research could challenge official Government guidelines which say that there is no evidence of organic food being healthier than conventional produce.
That guidance led Environment Secretary and South Shields MP David Miliband to say that organic food was a “lifestyle choice”, though he later added that he ate organic food because of its taste and environmental benefits. But Dr Brandt’s findings will lend scientific weight to the widely-held view that organic food is good for people.
Dr Brandt said: “My research shows that there are benefits. The reason why it’s such a grey area is because it’s extremely difficult to measure the health benefit in any food, but we can say that if you eat 400g of fruit and vegetables per day you would get 20% more nutrients in organic food.”
The new studies found that organic tomatoes had more vitamin C, beta-carotene and flavonoids, which are known to have benefits in the fight against cancer and heart disease, though they also had less lycopene, which is thought to help prevent skin ageing, diabetes and osteoporosis. Organic apple puree was found to contain more phenols, flavonoids and vitamin C than conventional versions. (more…)
May 3, 2008
Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards, meaning they are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives.Livestock are reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones. In all countries, certified organic produce must not be genetically modified.
Organic food production is legally regulated. Currently, the United States, the European Union, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain organic certification in order to market food as organic.
Historically, organic farms have been relatively small family-run farms — which is why organic food was once only available in small stores or farmers’ markets. However, since the early 1990s organic food has had growth rates of around 20% a year, far ahead of the rest of the food industry, in both developed and developing nations. As of April 2008, organic food accounts for 1-2% of food sales worldwide. Future growth is expected to range from 10-50% annually depending on the country.
May 1, 2008
Food prices reflect the costs of growing, harvesting, transportation, storage, processing and packaging. To be certified organic food must meet stricter regulations that govern all these steps in the process. Organic food production is usually more labor and management intensive and happens on a smaller scale ie on smaller farms which lack the benefit of economy of scale. All this makes organic food more expensive than conventionally farmed food. But this is only if we don’t look at the true cost of food production. When the indirect costs of conventional food production such as replacement of eroded soils, clean up of polluted water, costs of health care for farmers, farm workers and the consumers, environmental cost of artificial pesticide production and disposal, are factored into the cost, organic food is much cheaper. We need to look at the full life-cycle cost of production of organic vs non-organic.
Organic farming methods means production yields are often, but not always, lower than those obtained by conventional farming methods. This is because organic food production does not involve the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and other technological aids.
Depending where in Indonesia you purchase organic produce you can expect to pay at least a 20 percent premium. Based on survey, It found organic fruit and vegetables were on average 70 percent more expensive than non-organic – but the gap was shrinking. One factor driving the prices down is the entry into the organic market of the big players.
In countries where organic production is a higher proportion of the overall food production than it is in Australia, the price of organic food is coming down. This is largely due to economies of scale.
May 1, 2008
There are numerous reasons why we should choose organic. Organic food in Indonesia if often more expensive than non-organic, but the more you know about the overall benefits of organic food, the more you will realise it is much better value.
Even if we are ego-centric we cannot ignore the compelling reasons to choose organic food. Here are some reasons – not in any particular order:
1. Organic food tastes better. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which leads to the nourishment of the plant and, ultimately, our palate. Many people prefer organic food because they consider it tastes better.
2. Organic food production helps protect future generations. The average child receives approximately four times more exposure than an adult, to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Food choices made in the family and community now, determine our children’s health – not only now but into the future.
3. Organic food has higher levels of nutrients. There is now plentiful research findings that show organic food is far superior in vitamin, mineral and nutrient content. They are especially higher in antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Organic foods have higher levels (up to six times) of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is produced naturally in plants as a protective compound against stress and disease. Salicylic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps combat hardening of the arteries. (more…)
May 1, 2008
Organic food is produced to a set of standards and principles concerning such issues as chemical pesticides/herbicides/insecticides etc; food additives; animal welfare; and sustainability. Organic growers aim to produce food as ‘naturally’ as possible, free from trans-fats, GMOs, and most additives. Biodynamic farming is a form of organic farming that actively works with the health-giving forces of nature.What is organic food?
It is a different perspective!
When our food is organic it is produced in an organic farming system without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Emphasis is placed on the system and emphasises a holistic farm management approach, using rotations and ruminant animals as an integral part of the system. Organic systems recognise that our health is directly connected to the health of the food we eat and, ultimately, the health of the soil.
In this system soil is central with soil health critical in producing wholesome products without the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides/herbicides/fungicides etc. Organic farmers aim to produce good food from a balanced, living soil.
In the production of animal products, animal welfare is also an important issue with only free-range animals allowed – under the Australian Organic Standards cages are not permitted. Parasite problems in farm animals are controlled through regularly moving the animals to fresh pasture or areas and other preventative methods, unlike conventional farming where animals are routinely dosed with drugs.