Organic, local, all-natural, free range, No GMO, no antibiotics, sustainable, and grass-fed, these buzz words have come to mean different things to different people as discussions polarize around our food system. The benefit of organic food is one issue that has been hotly debated, with mixed results from scientific studies, and mixed results as well from people that shop for organic foods.
The benefits of organic foods center around two key beliefs.
- Better for the earth.
- Better for the body.
Did you know that less than 1% of all American crops are organic? Still, about 78% of families buy some food that is organic. The benefits of organic food are probably most readily available for pregnant mothers, and children, who might be affected negatively by higher levels of pesticides. Although even those benefits are contradicted in studies, the benefit of organic food for the earth is considerable and hard to deny.
Certain pesticides, besides wiping out natural ecosystems, have a terrible effect on one of our most important pollinators, the honeybee. Pesticides enter the soil and our water supply, and they are also harmful to the farm workers who come into closer contact to the residues than anyone else. Consider that when nearby farms receive crop-dusting, warnings go out for nearby residents to stay indoors. If you should not be breathing in or exposed to the chemicals that are being used on the crops, do you really want those pesticides on your food?
Did you know that organic food benefits can also be tied to consumer behaviors? Those who shop for organic food are 29% more likely to eat a healthier diet! While there may not be much proof that organic foods have more nutrients, or that pesticides can cause harm to a person, it is still up to each individual person to decide what kind of a food system they want to support. Today, more than 4% of food sold is organic, even though it represents only 1% of crops, and the industry has grown to more than $31 billion a year.
What is the benefit of organic food to you?