Many of us can remember a time when the label “organic” didn’t even exist in supermarkets. People just didn’t think that much about where their fruits and vegetables were coming from.
That has all changed.
Today people want to know where their food came from, how it was grown and harvested, and most importantly if it is organic.
But why? What is so important about buying and eating organic? We are told it is important and the higher prices on organic foods make it seem like they are better – but why?
The answer is a mix of reasons – ranging from environmental to social to of course health reasons. At Eric’s Health Food Shoppe we carry a large selection of organic fruits, organic vegetables, and organic animal products because we believe in the value of switching to organic. Here’s why –
First, What Does Organic Even Mean?
Regulations on what can be labeled “organic” vary from country to country but in general, organic foods are those grown and processed without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or GMOs (bioengineered genes).
When it comes to organic animal products, there is usually an additional requirement that the animals are fed organic feed or forage on their own and are not given chemical growth hormones or antibiotics.
Now let’s get back to why organic foods are better.
Less Chemicals (For You and the Environment)
The most obvious point of buying organic is to avoid the many chemicals used in modern farming. Synthetic, chemical fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are all routinely spread on conventional crops. These chemicals don’t just wash off the fruits and vegetables either. They have been shown to soak into the plants, poisoning from the outside in.
Modern farming chemicals have been linked in study after study to cancers, mental disorders, allergies, etc.
And it’s not just you they are poisoning.
Conventional farming with synthetic pesticides also poisons the local environment. When these chemicals are spread, they get into the air and pass on to any birds, animals, and waterways in the surrounding area.
Chemical use in modern farming goes far beyond fruits and vegetables too. Livestock raised on conventional farms are often fed chemically processed foods, given growth hormones, and pumped with antibiotics when they inevitably fall ill due to poor living conditions. These hormones and antibiotics have been shown to make their way even into the bodies of those who eat the resulting animal products – whether milk or meat.
Healthier and More Nutritious
There are plenty of reasons to give up conventionally farmed, chemical ladened foods but that’s not the only reason to switch to organic.
Switching to organic is also about adding health and nutrition. Studies have shown that organic food is oftentimes richer in nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, than conventional produce. This has to do with the way organic vegetables and fruits are grown.
In organic soil, plants are fed by the natural levels of nitrogen. They grow slowly but are able to use that extra time to develop higher levels of nutrients. When soil is packed with chemical fertilizers, plants grow more quickly but with less time to develop fully, meaning less nutrients.
This type of growing is good for modern farmers – more yield, more quickly – but not for the plants or for the people that eat them.
A few notable studies on organic food have found that –
- Organic produce has up to 60% higher levels of Vitamin C, zinc, and iron (Newcastle University)
- Organic tomatoes have almost double the levels of antioxidants which are known to help reduce blood pressure and help prevent heart disease (University of California, Davis)
- Organic produce has up to 25% higher concentrations of phytonutrients which are cancer-fighting elements (University of Florida)
Supporting Local and Small Scale Farmers
If the health or environmental benefits don’t convince you, consider the social impact eating organic can have.
Conventionally farmed foods and livestock don’t only poison the environment but also the people farming – workers spraying the chemicals, field hands picking the chemically coated fruits or vegetables, not to mention overall horrible working conditions and hours found on corporate owned farms.
Alternatively, organic food is almost always grown and produced by smaller scale farms – often family owned and well cared for. It’s simply not profitable enough for corporate farms to grow organic so the work falls to the smaller farmers.
Also, as organic foods are not sprayed or coated with any preservatives, they also tend to not travel as well. This means the majority of the organic foods found in your local health food store are probably from local farms. Supporting local farmers is good for the local economy and overall community.
Buying Organic Food at Eric’s Health Food Shoppe
If you are looking for a great one-stop shop for all your organic and health food needs, stop by Eric’s. We have been providing NYC residents with organic vegetables, organic fruits, and organic animal products for years. We also carry organic snack foods, organic packaged products, and much more.