There seems to be a large amount of
evidence mounting that buying organic foods may be better
for you and the planet. We here at Dave's Gourmet want everyone
to have access to this information. Below, we've reprinted
an article from the CCOF website, as well as provided you
with a few other links to peruse at your leisure.
(The following is re-posted from the California
Certified Organic Farmers' Website)
“We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers,
we are borrowing it from our children.” –
The average child receives four times more exposure than
an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing
pesticides in food. Food choices you make now will impact
your child’s future health.
The Soil Conservation Service estimates more than 3 billion
tons of topsoil are eroded from the United States’
croplands each year. That means soil erodes seven times
faster than it’s built up naturally. Soil is the
foundation of the food chain in organic farming. However,
in conventional farming, the soil is used more as a medium
for holding plants in a vertical position so they can
be chemically fertilized. As a result, American farms
are suffering from the worst soil erosion in history.
Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers
three-fourths of the planet. The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) estimates pesticides—some cancer causing—contaminate
the groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source
of drinking water for more than half the country’s
American farms have changed drastically in the last three
generations, from family-based small businesses dependent
on human energy to large-scale factory farms. Modern farming
uses more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming
12 percent of the country’s totally energy supply.
More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers
than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the
United States. Organic farming is still based on laborintensive
practices such as hand weeding and green manure and crop
covers instead of synthetic fertilizers to support soil.
CHEMICALS OFF YOUR PLATE
Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered
long before extensive research linking these chemicals
to cancer and other diseases had been established. Now
the EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent
of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides carcinogenic.
A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that
pesticides might cause an extra 4 million cancer cases
among Americans. The bottom line is that pesticides are
poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also
harm humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated
in birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.
A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed
to herbicides had six times more risk than non-farmers
of contracting cancer. In California, reported pesticide
poisonings among farm workers have risen an average of
14 percent a year since 1973 and doubled between 1975
and 1985. Field workers suffer the highest rates of occupational
illness in the state. Farm worker health is also a serious
problem in developing nations, where pesticide use can
be poorly regulated. An estimated 1 million people are
poisoned annually by pesticides.
Although more and more large-scale farms are making the
conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are
small, independently owned family farms of fewer than
100 acres. It’s estimated the United States has
lost more than 650,000 family farms in the past decade.
Organic farming is one of the few survival tactics left
for family farms.
A TRUE ECONOMY
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than
conventional foods, conventional food prices don’t
reflect hidden costs borne by taxpayers, including nearly
$74 billion annually in federal subsidies. Other hidden
costs include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous
waste disposal and cleanup, and environmental damage.
For instance, if you add in the environmental and social
costs of irrigation to a head of lettuce, its price would
range between $2 and $3 dollars.
Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots
of land with the same crop year after year. While this
approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970,
the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the
soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace
the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often in
increasing amounts. Single crops are also much more susceptible
to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite
a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947
and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled—partly
because some insects have become genetically resistant
to certain pesticides.
There’s a good reason why many chefs use organic
foods in their recipes—they taste better. Organic
farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which
eventually leads to the nourishment of the plant and,
ultimately our palates.
Additional information can be found at
The Organic Center's