What does “organic” mean?
Organic products are those that are grown, processed and packaged without the use of certain fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals. These products are created using the most sustainable methods possible, with an emphasis on maintaining the land in its natural state. Any type of agricultural product can be classified as organic, from fruits and vegetables to meat, chocolate, beer and more.
Although many farmers use sustainable growing methods, their products are not always considered “Certified Organic.” In order for an agricultural product to receive this qualification, the farm and the products must go through a rigid application and inspection process through a state or independent agency. Certification can take years and requires extensive paperwork, planning and fees.
Is organic better for you?
Foods grown organically are free from toxic chemicals and fertilizers that may harm the body and cause health problems. Additionally, there is evidence that these foods are healthier and contain more nutrients. Organic growers help to promote a sustainable environmental system by reducing the amount of chemicals running into the soil and through the groundwater.
However, it is also important to note that many farmers grow organically but choose not to become certified due to the extensive application process required. This is why the phrase “know your farmer” is so important. Buying locally and becoming familiar with the people and practices used to grow your food can ultimately ensure that you are buying the most sustainable and healthy products, regardless of their classification as organic.
Why does organic food cost more?
Because organic foods must meet stricter production and processing requirements, growers often require more labor or special equipment to be able to produce food meeting organic standards. This can be expensive to manage, and the price of organic food reflects the increased effort that goes into producing these products. Also, organic farmers don’t receive the same federal subsidies as conventional farmers, and must therefore increase prices to turn a profit.