1. Protect Future Generations
Research suggests that children receive four times an adult's exposure to many pesticides in food, due to their lesser body weight and need for high energy foods. The foods you choose now will affect your child's health in the future.
2. Prevent Soil Erosion
Agricultural soil erodes many times faster than it is built up naturally. Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming. Organic systems rely on a modern and scientific understanding of ecology and soil science, whilst using traditional methods to ensure fertility and manage weeds and pests.
3. Protect & Conserve Water
Water is becoming increasingly scarce and polluted. Artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides often used in conventional gariculture contaminate water, killing fish and other organisms. Organic farming avoids these chemicals while using techniques to reduce water usage.
4. Save Energy & Reduce Emissions
Conventional farms are highly dependent on fossil fuels both directly for machinery and indirectly in the production of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. Organic farming is based upon labor-intensive practices such as weeding by hand and using mulches, green manures, biological controls and other simple techniques to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Generally organic produce travels shorter distances from farm to plate, saving transport energy also.
5. Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate
Many pesticides approved for use were registered before there was extensive research which links these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides to be carcinogenic. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides might cause an additional 1.4 million cancer cases among Americans over their lifetime. The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms, and are harmful to humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are linked to birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.
6. Protect Farm Workers Health
A natural Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicides had a six time greater risk than non-farmers, of contracting cancer. Farm worker health is a serious problem in developing nations, where pesticide use can be poorly regulated (where does your coffee come from?). An estimated one million people are poisoned annually by pesticides.
7. Support Small Scale Farmers
Although more and more large scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small independently owned and operated family farms of less than 100 acres. Small farms are under pressure and Organic farming could become one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.
8. Support a True Economy
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than conventional foods, conventional food prices do not reflect hidden cost borne by taxpayers, including hidden costs such as pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and clean up, damage to the environment (which is priceless) and costs to the medical system.
9. Promote Biodiversity
Monoculture is the practice of planting large areas of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach has tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients farmers use chemical fertilisers in large amounts, which only compounds the problem. Pesticides kill wildlife and soil organisms. Organic farmers know that they must reintroduce natural areas and encourage life in the soil.
10. Better Taste and More Flavour
Organic farming starts with an abundance of nutrients in the soil which produces healthy plants. Healthy plants which are well supplied with minerals can make all the flavour producing substances they need. Many chefs use organic foods because they are well cared for during their production and they taste better!
Adapted from Grow Organic No. 102 October-December 1997 Excerpted from an article by Sylvia Tawse in Delicious, April 1994 and CROPO Issue 23, July,1995.
* bring your own shopping bags and containers - recycle, reuse, reduce
* invite your friends
* start a stall with an organic or sustainable theme
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