|Why buy Organic/Biodynamic?|
After giving a talk to a group of people recently, I was asked why should people subsidize the inefficiencies and lower yields of organic food by having to pay higher prices. To which I answered - the prices of conventional food are too cheap, not that organic food is too dear.
It seems to be a popular practice of society and science, to take a small part out of the whole and say this is the most important thing. If we just look at a $ for $ comparison of food from both sectors, it is easy to say we pay more for organic food. But if we look more deeply at the wholistic view of food production, when you buy organic, you are supporting a large array of community and environmentally friendly industries.
I believe we are at or near a critical point in time when we as a whole have to start taking action to stop the contamination of our home (this remarkable planet). We have allowed large multi-national companies to convince us that we need to be consumers of goods. The trend is towards cheaper throw-away goods, but they neglect to tell us about the damage to the environment to get the raw product, then the toxic waste produced in manufacturing, packaging, transporting and finally disposing of it when broken or has simply lost its usefulness. This is called a linear system where the end product or the waste doesn't replenish, repair or rehabilitate areas originally used.
When you buy organic, you are buying a better, safer environment for ourselves and our children. You are also creating jobs for people because organic farming is a lot more labour-intensive and the systems organic and biodynamic farmers use to produce food creates no unusable waste. They are continually building up soil. Most organic farmers are happy to set aside 20 to 30% of their land for tree and nature habitats for wild-life of all kinds. With good soil management water is retained in the soil. There is less run-off of soil and nutrients which end up in our oceans. This is called a cyclic system mimicking nature.
In comparison, the conventional system of food production supports companies that are producing very large amounts of agricultural chemicals with no thought other than profits. Here are some figures of chemical usage in U.S. agriculture: in 1964 it was 300 million kg, in 1991 it was 500 million kg and by 2003 it was 1,800 million kg.
I think it is accepted that when you wash fruit and vegetables, you are washing all the poison off. However many chemicals are systemic (the poison is designed to go into the sap of the plant, so when a pest or disease comes along and has a suck or chew, or adhere to the plant, the poison is already there to kill the unsuspecting pest). So even if the farmer does the right thing (which most do) and waits the recommended withholding period (usually 7 days) before picking the fruit or vegetables, I believe there is still some poison left.
Where does the rest of the millions of kg of poison go? Onto the soil (where the plant is feeding from) or stays airborne for a long time, but it will all eventually end up in the waterways. Some underground, some in rivers which flood into the oceans.
These chemicals have now touched every area where all our food comes from. Even in small amounts these chemicals (believed to be 80,000 new chemicals made since WWII) can accumulate in the body and over many years may cause health problems. So yes it may be cheaper to buy non-organic food in the short-term but what is the cost in the long-term? The choice is yours.
As I answered the question, it is a matter of choice, and my health is the most important thing I have. Good health seems to be something most people only think about when they are sick. I think we can change the way things are, but first we have to change our way of thinking and our buying habits. It does take a bit more effort and time to read the labels on what we are buying, or finding out who makes the product, and whether they are looking after the environment and employees. So, what products we buy and what % is environmentally friendly will make a difference to our health and the health of our children and what sort of a future the planet has.
We are all in this together, all be it a big boat, but what we do or allow to happen will effect us in one way or another. The effects may not be immediate but they will be felt.
As a company we are becoming more aware and starting to look at everything we do and see how we can minimize our usage of non-recyclable products and make sure things that can be recycled are. Even if it is reusing a box or plastic bags, it's a start. All change starts with awareness.