Anthropological and linguistics articles from University of Western Australia

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why Organic Food is Better by Marcia Helene Hewitt

Why Organic Food Is Better by Marcia Helene Hewitt
The Organic Principle: Many people are aware that food grown according to organic principles is free from exposure to harmful herbicides and pesticides, but that is only one small aspect of organic agriculture. A larger part of organic agriculture involves the health of the soil and the ecosystem. People interested in organic methods recognize that healthy, vibrant, and live soils and ecosystems significantly benefit crops. Natural, undisturbed soil is alive with micro biotic organisms that exist in harmony with the native plant life and the inorganic minerals that provide the soil's substrata.
Synthetic chemicals (such as herbicides, pesticides, and/or fast acting inorganic fertilizers) applied in or around crops interrupt or destroy the micro biotic activity in the soil. Once the micro biotic activity in the soil has stopped, the soil becomes merely an anchor for plant material. This conventional method of agriculture (in use for only the past 75 of 10,000 years of recorded agriculture) plants can receive only air, water, and sunlight from their environment -- everything else must be distributed to plants by farmers, often from inputs transported thousands of miles to reach the farm. Plants are commonly fed only the most basic elements of plant life and so are dependent on the farmer.

Food grown organically
Food grown organically means more support for local economies, but it can also mean higher prices. Conventionally grown foods cost less because their hidden costs are passed on to consumers and the environment. These hidden costs include creating synthetic inputs, the resulting pollution from spreading them, and long-term health effects of pesticide residues in our food.
In the long run, organically grown food is the best bargain for us, the environment, and future generations.
Maine Growers Association defines organic agriculture as "a locally sustainable, low-input technique for raising crops and livestock." For details on the legal definition of the word "organic," which is now regulated in the United States by the US Department of Agriculture, read the USDA National Organic Program standards and rules.
There are numerous organic certification policies. In Australia, Australian Certified Organic currently certifies about 55% of Australian organic produce. ( Garry Hannagan, NSW Farmer of the Year in 2004 & Australian Certified Operator says “the bud logo gives you the marketing edge---everywhere you need it.” To find out how you can ensure a straightforward, practical approach to your organic certification click here.
Marcia Helene Hewitt
BA (Anthropology) UWA


Hannagan, Garry. NSW Farmer of the Year 2004

Coleman, Eliot. 1995. The New Organic. Chelsea Green. Conn.

Australian Certified Organic.

Maine Growers Association



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