SUSTAINABILITY ARTICLE FOR THE WEEKENDER HERALD BY LIDDY DOLMAN JULY 2013
'WHY CHOOSE ORGANIC FOOD?'
'Organic Food' means foods grown and processed without the use of man-made chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides or pesticides. Organically farmed foods are also free from antibiotics and growth hormones and are not genetically engineered.
Now, I don’t profess to have any formal qualifications on this subject but, there is enough evidence out there citing the negative impact of these synthetically produced chemicals on our health and the health of our planet, to have motivated me to do more research on the matter.
The jury is still out on whether organic food is more nutritious than conventionally farmed foods, but that is generally not the reason why people choose to eat organically. It is the chemicals that have potentially been absorbed by the food during the growing/warehousing process that concerns all of us. We must not overlook the contamination of our soils, waterways and aquifer that occurs during this process.
The overwhelming results noted in a number of the research papers, is that children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. The National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory in the US, found one class of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, may be responsible for early puberty and breast cancer. Commonly used pesticides have also been linked to asthma and some forms of cancer throughout the world.
An Environmental Working Group in Australia cites the following produce as the most contaminated foods in order of pesticide load which gives us a base to work from if going 100% organic is out of the question: - Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines, Grapes, Potatoes, Blueberries, Lettuce, Kale.
Animal welfare is also an important consideration as to whether people choose certified organic products. Strict guidelines in regard to the welfare of animals including poultry, pigs, sheep, goats and cattle form a considerable component of the organic standards in this country.
What is the answer? Grow what you can around the home from organic seeds – not only providing you with ‘clean’ food but delicious taste sensations. Look out for food swaps and farmers markets around your community and talk to the growers about their food growing procedures.
Adelaide has a growing number of reputable organic food outlets providing excellent, locally farmed produce at reasonable prices. Buy produce that is in season and climate appropriate.
Importantly, don’t take my word for it, do your own research. You and your family's health is worth it.
Next edition – Designing your sustainable home – The key considerations.
Visit me at Ecolateral 411 Magill Road St Morris or visit www.ecolateralshop.com.au for more info on sustainability.