The term “organic” seems to be quite the “in” word these days, but its significance goes well beyond a mere trend. In a time when nearly every object or procedure around us is being re-designed for convenience or simplicity, we’re losing sight of the most simple idea of all: get back to basics and grow food and crops the way nature intended… WITHOUT the chemicals.

 

It’s a frightening and vicious cycle within the present conventional farm: Millions of pounds of pesticides, herbicides and other nasty chemicals are applied to plants each year in hopes of increasing yields (and ultimately profits).  But those little bugs and weeds and other annoyances are adapting to resist these chemicals.  That leads to upping the ante and using chemical applications with higher concentrations and an increased toxicity.  Guess what happens next? Yup… those pests adapt yet again and it goes on and on.  Not to mention, the soil quality decreases with the use of these pesticides and so more chemicals, in the form of fertilizers, are applied. What are we, the consumers, left with?  Food and textile crops that are grown in contaminated soil and doused with a generous sprinkling of POISON.  These chemicals are just that – poisons.  Many are carcinogenic, others hormone disruptors… all in all, BAD stuff that can have disastrous effects on our families’ well-beings.

 

On the flip side, organic farming uses NO pesticides, fertilizers, or any other chemicals.  Nor does it use seeds that are genetically engineered or modified.  In the simplest of terms, organic farming involves planting a seed, feeding it with water and sunlight (and some good old fashioned manure!), and letting it grow.  Sounds just like your backyard garden, doesn’t it?!  And, even better, the result is often tastier and packed with more nutrition than its conventionally grown counterpart.

 

Now, it is true that organic food and textiles tend to be more costly than conventional products.  But with the recent popularity and increase in demand for these naturally-grown products, we’re seeing more reasonable prices at the grocery stores and markets.  For all of us trying to stick to a budget (while providing the best for our families), there are several options to consider when wanting to move toward organic:

 

  • Start small; think about the foods (especially fresh produce) that you eat the most and seek out organic alternatives
  • Prioritize; decide for yourself whether that organic apple might be a better choice than the organic hand towel you’re using to dry it!
  • Dig in the dirt; grow your own garden at home or at a community garden space and enjoy your own chemical-free bounty throughout the growing season
  • Go local; it’s an expensive and often daunting process for a small farmer to get the official “organic” stamp on their food, so instead, seek out those local farms who grow organically but are not able to officially label it so… take your time chatting with the farmer at your neighborhood farmers’ market, you’ll be surprised what you can learn there
  • Bigger can be better; join a local organic buying club to take advantage of bulk discounts or seek out a nearby CSA (community supported agriculture) farm to purchase a share of its large, and often organically-grown, harvest

 

We would never feed our families doses of outright poison, so why is a blind eye being turned toward all of the harmful chemicals used in conventional farming?  It’s time to put the well-being of our families first and choose organic whenever possible.  Here’s to our health!

Shannon Beery – Research Specialist for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Holden and Quinn


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