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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why You should Eat Organic Twinkies

The other day there was a Facebook post floating around, it had three skeletons in coffins and each skeleton was reflecting upon his life with a funny/ironic sentiment. One of them was “I’m glad I ate Organic!”

Is eating organic simply a healthy choice? No. Is it about just keeping yourself thinner or prettier or healthier? Not by a long shot. That is one way of looking at why a person would choose to eat organic, however the other reasons are often more important…particularly now at this time of climate crisis. Organic agriculture is not just a trend, it’s not just a fad, it’s not a health kick, it is and will be the only future of food that we have; and the fact that it’s healthier and tastes better is just a bonus.
Every person should know that 40%, yes 40%, of global carbon emissions come from industrial agriculture (see Vandana Shiva, Soil not Oil). This is a gigantic contributor to global warming. Not only does industrial agriculture contribute heavily to carbon emission, but it actually produces less in calories than organic agriculture. For all the industrial Ag. Companies talk about efficiency, growing many acres of one crop is not only destructive and extremely risky, but you’re only producing one nutrient deficient product. This type of highly mechanized agriculture is entirely dependent upon fossil fuel; from the tilling of the soil, addition of fertilizer, to the planting of seed, to the harvest, to processing and distribution every step along the way requires heavy inputs of oil. Without oil, this type of agriculture would be impossible to maintain, so it’s a highly dependent system.  - Democracy Now with Vandana Shiva

“In the world's temperate climates human agriculture has supplanted 70 percent of grasslands, 50 percent of savannas and 45 percent of temperate forests. Farming is also the leading cause of deforestation in the tropics and one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, a major contributor to the ongoing maul of species known as the "sixth extinction," and a perennial source of nonrenewable groundwater mining and water pollution.”

“On the other hand, an organic farmer "needs to create a fertile soil that provides sufficient nutrients at the right time when the crops need them. The same is true for pest management." But the end result is a healthier soil, which may prove vital in efforts to make it more resilient in the face of climate change as well as conserve it. Organic soils, for example, retain water better than those farms that employ conventional methods. "You use a lot more water [in irrigation] because the soil doesn't have the capacity to retain the water you use,"” – Scientific American; will organic food fail to feed the world.
Industrial agriculture displaces real farmers. As corporate driven agriculture seeks out new fertile land to grow more monocrops on, it takes it from localized, small farmers who would put that land to better use. These companies go into developing nations, where a localized food system is critical to survival, and buy up all the fertile land and water for production. They claim that by doing this they provide jobs and ‘education’ for the local communities but what they’ve really done is undermined a local food system that has worked for thousands of years. They monocrop, which means less diversity of food is produced and the people of that region start to suffer from nutrient deficiencies. And, they push out the last of the real farmers by undercutting their prices at local markets. This alone is a reason to choose organic, as industrial agriculture cannot work in an organic model so when you choose to buy an organic product…you are choosing to let these farmers continue to produce a variety of healthy foods for their own people. You are alleviating world hunger.
Unprocessed, local agriculture produces more food. “If you are eating lettuce in NYC grown in California, it has taken 56 calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver you 1 calorie of food” – Michael Pollan, Organic Lunch or Toxin Brunch.  Eating organic says “I will not participate in this ridiculous destructive system.” According to John Reganold of Washington State University where one of the largest organic vs. conventional experiments was recently undertaken and continues "Our findings have global implications and advance what we know about the sustainability benefits of organic farming systems," and  "We also show you can have high quality, healthy produce without resorting to an arsenal of pesticides."

Biointensive mini-farming techniques make it possible to grow food using 99 percent less energy in all forms – human and mechanical, 66 percent to 88 percent less water, and 50 percent to 100 percent less fertilizer, compared to commercial agriculture. They also produce two to six times more food and build the soil.” – The Context Institute.

So, being healthier or living longer is only a small reason why you should choose to eat organic. Really, you could eat organic twinkies; although they are highly processed…so talk to your local baker. Choosing to buy and eat organic not only stands up to corporate bullies, but it takes action against climate change, against world hunger, it supports local business, and local beauty of landscape, and it makes a strong statement that you want to contribute to the solutions.

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