by Brianna Santos, C.H.N.
Let’s take a moment to talk about organic produce in and why it’s important. You may look at the price difference between non-organic and organic produce in Las Vegas and think “why is it more expensive to shop organic?” To answer your question, true organic crops are grown to a high standard met by the USDA Organic certification. In order for your food to qualify for the USDA Organic seal, the food must be 95-100% organic.
Organic crops must be grown in safe soil, contain zero modifications, be chemical free, and avoid the use of synthetic pesticides, GMO’s, petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizer. Notice how I said “synthetic” pesticides. Organic farmers still use pesticides, but they use natural ones that are less harmful to the body. They are also required to be grown separately from conventionally grown products, which typically allows the use of the previously listed methods. In essence, the price of organic food is higher because the quality of your food is higher.
Organically grown and raised foods are widely considered to be more nutritious. They often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts. Likewise, many people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives may find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods. Research also shows that organic foods are often richer in nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, and vitamin C, which are critical to maintaining good health.
“Keywords to look out for when you are shopping are organic, pasture raised, and wild caught. ”
— Dr. Lee-Sedera
Shopping organic is not only better for our health, but for many other reasons too. Here is a short list of what makes shopping organic great:
It is safer for the environment. Because organic farming avoids the use of pesticides as much as possible, chemical runoff and residue in water is reduced.
Organic agriculture builds healthy soil using compost, crop rotation, and other natural tools instead of relying on petroleum-based synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that deplete the soil of valuable nutrients.
Organic agriculture absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, helping to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.
Organic farming contributes to biodiversity with up to 50% more plant, insect, and bird life.
By law, organic farmers must provide their animals with access to the outdoors and pasture, quality organic feed, and safe, clean living conditions. That being said, you can ensure humane practices for the animals on the farm.
You are likely supporting your local farmers. This is especially true if you are able to shop at your local farmers market!
If purchasing all organic produce is out of your budget or simply hard to come by, here is a list created by the Environmental Working Group each year that tells us which produce contains the highest amounts of contamination and which produce is considered the least contaminated and safe to purchase non-organic. These lists are called the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.
Sweet Peas (Frozen)