If you'd like to see our land and water support life on Earth well into the future, you need to know about organic farming and sustainable agriculture. Here's a brief introduction to a very important subject.
Pesticides In Our Food
Our biggest fears stem
from pesticides and the concern that those currently used to grow our food
might someday prove to be carcinogenic, as DDT was discovered to be a generation ago.
While many of us assume that a federally approved pesticide is "safe", Dr. Marion Moses, M.D., founder of the Pesticide Education Center, in San Francisco, and author of the book Designer Poisons: How to Protect Your Health and Home from Toxic Pesticides, and many pesticide watch organizations contend that the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides, has not tested all the ingredients in these chemicals and does not require companies to disclose or label their so-called inert ingredients. Jay Feldman also notes that government studies and regulations do not take into consideration the effects of combinations of pesticides (only the effects of individual pesticides have been studied). Furthermore, none of the recent EPA studies have concerned themselves with the fact that 85 to 90 percent of all pesticides drift from their point of application, increasing the risk that nearby areas might be exposed.
According to Dr. Moses, chronic pesticide health complaints are birth defects, cancer, brain damage, and reproductive damage. (A class of chemicals that has gained recent attention is called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, also known as estrogenic pesticides or "gender benders." In very low doses, EDC's have the ability to affect the sexual characteristics of animals. The evidence of human reproductive damage is still being examined.)
The Farmer's Dilemma
poisons, designed to kill things that threaten our food supply:
insecticides to kill the bugs that would eat a crop before
we get the chance to, herbicides to halt invasive weeds, and
fungicides to stave off decay. It seems silly to knowingly
use such chemicals when they could be harmful, so why use pesticides at
all? The reasons are practical, economic, and cosmetic: to supply high
yields of crops, to reduce the cost and labor of farming, and to produce
relatively unblemished, visually appealing produce. Organic
farming is more labor-intensive than conventional farming, and usually
takes place on a smaller scale than the so-called "chemical agribusiness"
What Does Organic Farming Mean?
farming is not just the absence of pesticides, but the presence of an agricultural system that protects croplands, supports
biodiversity, and respects the balance of nature rather than attempting to
control it with powerful, often toxic synthetic chemicals.
Aren't All Natural Foods Organic?
No they are
not! Foods may be free of artificial ingredients, or
"natural", but still grown by conventional methods. The term "organic" on
the label means the food has been grown and processed according to strict
guidelines, carefully documented and certified (see below for more on what
How Do I Know If It's Really Organic?
Certification is your best guarantee. Any
reputable grower, processor, or retail store will use the
organic label if the product has been certified by an independent third-party
organization, either governmental or private.
What Can I Do?
organic. Certified organic foods are available by mail at
SunOrganic Farm. Call toll free 1-888-269-9888 for a free catalog.
Finally, the long-term price of conventional farming, in terms of the damage to our soil, water, farm workers and everyone's health, is very great. We pay these costs when taxpayers fund environmental cleanup or health care costs. This must be taken into account when measuring the costs and benefits of buying organic.
Modern organic farming methods not only protect the earth, but also produce what is perhaps the safest and most flavorful food on the market. Organic farming and its methods of distribution could be the only alternative to extinction.
© SunOrganic Farm Box 2429 Valley Center, CA 92082 Toll-Free 1-888-269-9888