A few years ago, I was standing in the kitchen of my best friend’s house. We were just preparing dinner. Everywhere I looked, his refrigerator and shelves were stocked with organic produce. Organic muesli, organic cucumbers, organic apples. „Why do you only buy organic stuff? Isn’t it enough if it’s all from our region?“ I asked.
Well, at this point in time I mistaked regional and seasonal food with organic – as many consumers still do today. Now I know better. In this article, I will tell you about my top 7 reasons to decide for organic produce.
This article works with quite a few examples from the food sector. Remember that other arguments also apply to cosmetics, furniture, clothing, … I myself try to buy everything from organic produce, even though it is not that easy sometimes. For example, as I do not really like the style of most organic clothes, I often go for second-hand.
I do not just call a product organic when I see a label on it. My understanding of true organic goes far beyond that (see this article). I highly recommend you to read it, especially if you are still a critic regarding organic production!
1.Organic products are healthierEmbed from Getty Images
This point is mainly true if you buy many unprocessed organic products such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
Organic convenience products may also contain a lot salt, sugar and fats. However, the list of permitted food additives is also smaller compared to conventionally grown food. Conventional products may contain 314 different additives in the EU. In the US we find more than 3000 additives in the FDA database – although harmless additives such as spices are also listed there. Organic food labelled with the EU organic seal may only contain 50 of these additives. The cultivation associations Demeter, Naturland and Bioland have stricter standards and only allow 20 of these additives.
Another advantage of organic produce is that unprocessed fruit and vegetables contain more vitamins than conventional fruit and vegetables. This is partly due to the lower water content, which is also responsible for the better taste of some types of fruit and vegetables (point 3).
Since chemical synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming, we expose ourselves to a lower health risk with organic fruit and vegetables than with conventionally grown ones. Not every organic vegetable is pesticide-free, since pesticides can of course get onto them through neighbouring fields, transport and fraud. However, we find less pesticide residues in organic products.
In Baden-Württemberg (Germany), fruit samples were taken from organically grown and conventional fruits. Only 7% of the organic samples were contaminated with pesticide residues, whereas the figure for conventional ones was 95%!
In addition, a smaller number of different pesticide varieties were found on organically grown fruit and vegetables. As combinations of pesticides have unknown consequences for the human and animal organism, I recommend to go for organic products.
Holistic organic farmers increasingly use old crop varieties. They are better adapted to their location and thus need less pesticides to yield the desired crops. But they have health advantages as well: In the case of apples, for example, it has been proven that traditional apple varieties such as „Geheimrat Oldenburg“ contain significantly more polyphenols than „modern“ apple varieties.
2. No need to peel organic fruit and vegetablesEmbed from Getty Images
You can consume an organic apple with its skin after washing without hesitation. In or below the skin of apples, pears and co, we find a particularly large number of vitamins and valuable secondary plant substances. Often the skin is very tasty as well: I love to eat apples, figs and peaches with their skin.
Using the peel of fruits and vegetables, you can be more with your fruit and vegetables. Try to flavour desserts with the peel of orange, lemon for example.
Last but not least, it saves work and waste if you leave the peel on!
Even if I can’t eat the peel, I go for organic products. When peeling fruits, pesticides can get from the peel into the edible fruit flesh anyway.
3. Organic is tastierEmbed from Getty Images
A few years ago, I would not have agreed to this statement. When I still ate more conventional convenience products, I did not like some organic foods. They simply weren’t sweet or salty enough for me. I suppose I missed the flavour enhancers too. For example, I liked the packaged brioche from the supermarket better than a freshly baked one from the organic baker. However, this is not due to good ingredients in convenience products, but to the additives such as humectants, colourings, a lot of cheap fat, sugar and flavour enhancers, which often make conventional products taste more delicious than they actually are.
Of course, by today we also observe many unhealthy, over-sweetened organic products that taste very similar to their conventional counterparts. But basically, I can only recommend it if you get yourself accustomed to natural, unprocessed food again.
Today, I prefer organic And unprocessed products. For me, artificial strawberry and vanilla flavours taste unpleasant. Conventional products have become too salty, bland or overly sweet. This sharpening of the sense of taste is not only related to the changeover to organic products, but also to the general renunciation of artificial convenience products. A sharpened sense of taste has many advantages: It makes it easier for you to recognize high-quality food and thus helps you to cook balanced and naturally tasty meals.
Does organic really taste better? Convenience products taste different due to the diminished variety of allowed food additives.
For fresh fruit and vegetables, itis not that clear-cut. In my opinion, organic tomatoes always taste better than conventionally grown ones. With peaches or bananas, on the other hand, I could not taste a specific difference. This shows that the taste does not depend on the organic label alone, but on freshness, seasonality, cultivation conditions and the whole context (see 7).
4. Organic is more economical in the long runEmbed from Getty Images
Organic is more expensive, at least at first glance. That is the main reason why many people do not buy organic. But why do organically grown products cost more? On the one hand, this is due to certification and controls that organic farmers must pay for in order to be allowed to sell their products as organic. In addition, the cultivation methods and pest control methods used in organic farming are often more labour and knowledge intensive.
As a result, organic products generally cost more than their conventional counterparts. But what the cheap conventional price does not include is the environmental damage caused by pesticide use, dying insects, dwindling Biodiversity and polluted water. Others pay for it – future generations, animals, and the environment.
Conventional cultivation leaches out the soil, so that after initially good yields, the harvest can gradually be maintained only with more and more fertilizers and pesticides. Holistic organic cultivation, on the other hand, works gentle with the soil, so we do not need chemical synthetic fertilizers. In order to exploit these advantages, however, organic farmers have to invest more knowledge, time and effort.
In the long run, holistic organic farming is therefore cheaper than conventional farming, if we include all „hidden“ costs of pesticide use, mass industrial farming,…!
Within the organic labels, we can observe price differences too: Products that are certified with stricter organic labels cost a little more. However, it is definitely worth to pay a higher price for certain labels! I am particularly convinced of the Demeter label. Especially for animal products this seal is always my first choice! For example, Demeter obliges its farmers to let the cows keep their horns and promotes natural fertilisation – guidelines that are not given with the „normal“ organic seal.
5. Organic protects the environment
That seems pretty obvious. By banning chemical synthetic pesticides, organic farming preserves natural resources such as water, soil and air in a liveable state. Organic farming also promotes Biodiversity. Grain and poppy flowers in the grain field can grow and provide habitats for beneficial insects such as various beetles, grasshoppers and bees.
The Swiss institute for organic agriculture, FiBL has calculated that an average of 30% more species occur on organically farmed land than on conventional land! This shows that organically farmed areas are more life-friendly than conventionally farmed areas and thus contribute to the preservation of our natural Biodiversity.
Conventionally farmed areas on the contrary often look like agricultural „desserts“ as only a single species grows on these fields.
Organic farming also conserves water, since pesticides, fertilizers, etc. do not simply remain on the field, but enter the water cycle and can cause unforeseeable effects on the aquatic ecosystem.
6. Organic food is GMO-free
Even if organic labels show slight differences in this point – organic products must be free from so-called „green genetic engineering“. In the case of the EU organic label, this means that products may contain a maximum of 0.9% of genetically modified ingredients. In view of the unexplained effects of green genetic engineering on our environment, a GMO-freeagriculture is important in my opinion. Like this, we can preserve our natural Biodiversity and variety of species.
7. Holistic organic is also unpackaged, zero waste, …
For me, organic is more than just a label. I have written an entire article about the meaning of organic for me (find it here). Organic cultivation should primarily work with nature and its cycles, not against them. Even if we try to fight against nature – at some point nature wins. Living with our natural environment, understanding it and working in harmony with it is much more innovative!
These are my seven good reasons to choose organic goods! Do you have any others? Just leave your comment here!