As we celebrate Organic September each year, we revisit the differences between organic and conventional agriculture to remind ourselves and each other why organic is so important for the health of our food system and our earth. One question we hear most from our customers is: Is organic worth the cost? Let’s unpack this absolutely legitimate question and get to the root to clarify what the extra cash compensates and what it means for you.
Ultimately, only you can decide whether spending more of your hard-earned money on organic produce is worth it. Here are three reasons why we think it is:
1. Your Health
Organic food is better for our bodies. While I say that emphatically, I also acknowledge that it is a contentious statement. Initial studies comparing the nutrient density of conventional and organic produce found that organic foods do not offer significant nutritional benefits. However, more recent studies challenge that conclusion.¹ Most significantly, organic fruits and vegetables have been found to offer much higher levels of antioxidants—which are essential nutrients for maintaining the health of our cells, supporting longevity and preventing chronic disease.
Even if the jury is still out on the health potency factor of organic vs. conventional produce (and for the sake of fairness, let’s say it is), there is still the issue of chemical pesticide, herbicide and insecticide residues. People argue that the amounts of chemicals used to help grow conventional produce are so low that they are insignificant to our bodies. However, when we consume non-organic food repeatedly over time, those “small” levels of chemicals become compounded and highly toxic for our bodies. It’s best to avoid them altogether—which you do when you eat organic produce!
2. Environmental Impact
It’s undebatable: conventional agriculture is harmful to the earth. The chemicals used in non-organic agriculture contaminate and destroy the land, water and air—which make up the entire environment that we (and all plants and animals) rely on to survive. A very real, immediate and concerning impact of conventional agriculture is that it strips soil of its biodiversity, which is defined as the variety of microorganisms and life in a habitat or ecosystem. Biodiversity is necessary for soil to effectively sequester carbon from our environment, which is necessary to combat climate change. As millions of acres of farmland have depleted, chemically riddled soil, this land is unable to sequester carbon and climate change rages on. In short, conventional agriculture compromises the health and sustainability of our ecosystems, natural resources, and planet as a whole, while organic agriculture replenishes them.
3. Voting with Your Dollars
It’s simple: By devoting a little more of your money to purchasing organic, you are leveraging your economic power to send the message that your own health and the health of our planet are what matter to you. In the capitalist economy in which we live, companies shift to meet consumer demand. More demand for organic produce and food products not only encourages farms to transition to organic agriculture, it also helps drive down the price of organic foods, as the producers would need to begin operating at a larger scale to meet consumer demand.² By purchasing organic foods, you’re advocating for a food system that supports the health and longevity of our earth and the beings in it (yourself included)!
Curious to learn more about the importance of choosing organic? Follow @navitasorganics on social media throughout September (and beyond!) for more education on the importance of organic.
¹NPR, “Are Organic Vegetables More Nutritious After All?”. Accessed Aug 14, 2019. < https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/07/11/330760923/are-organic-vegetables-more-nutritious-after-all>.
²The Balance Small Business, “Why Consumers Should Buy Organic Food.” Accessed Aug 22, 2019. < https://www.thebalancesmb.com/reasons-to-buy-organic-food-2538039>.
Meredith is Navitas Organics’ Product Marketing Manager. The first Navitas product she ever purchased was Cacao Powder, with which she is still massively obsessed. A contemporary art museum educator in what now feels like a past life, Meredith is passionate about education and will talk your ear off about food, health and mindfulness if you let her.