An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Whoever wrote this statement clearly lived in the days long before commercial farming and pesticides. The statement should now read, ‘an organic apple keeps the doctor away’. Organic produce has gained a lot of popularity in supermarkets over the years. There was a time when organic food was associated with hippies and only found in health shops – not anymore!! More and more people are learning about what goes into the production of their food, and are making decisions to be healthier by exercising their right of freedom of choice.
Organic vs Conventional
Organic farming, simply put, is agricultural produce grown without the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers with only natural inputs such as manure or compost. Organic farming produces fertile soil, preserves water and reduces pollution through nourishing the soil. This method of farming this way, is filled with nutrients and anti-oxidants that sustain a healthy body without all the risks of chemical consumption.
The alternative, and most common, method is conventional farming. This is economical farming or farming that is used to produce a massive supply of food with high financial reward. This agricultural method uses chemicals and synthetic fertilizers to keep harmful insects away from crops.
The dangers of using pesticides on crops, keeps on increasing for both humans and the environment.
In the environment,
Water becomes polluted, which affects marine life, which could lead to more and more species becoming endangered and/or extinct.
Air pollution, since most of the pesticides are sprayed onto the plants, the fumes are carried by the winds to human and animal habitats.
Insects,Pesticides are not only harming the bad insects but also the good and beneficial ones. With an increase in chemical use in farming practice, there has a been a huge decrease in the bee population. Bees aid in the production of honey and transfer of pollen. Without the work of bees, a lot of plants will not be able to grow.
In humans, pesticides have been linked to,
Hormonal disruptions – many chemicals are known to interfere with animal and human hormones, affecting reproduction and development.
Pregnancy– environmental chemicals collect in the body and exposure to them before pregnancy may increase the time it takes to conceive. Exposure during pregnancy may affect the size of the baby and increase the possibility of birth defects.
The milder symptoms include Fatigue, Skin Irritation and Nausea.
Know your organic facts
Pesticides – limiting your exposure to pesticides decreases the range of disorders and illnesses that you are exposed to.
Price – Organic produce is a little more pricey than the alternative. In this economy, shopping is about finding the cheapest bargain. There are ways to switch to organic without breaking your bank balance.
Grow your own crops – this gives you complete control over what is used to cultivate the soil and also saves you hundreds of Rands a year on fruit and vegetable shopping.
Buy Local – Try and buy fruits and vegetables that are locally produced. These should have an organic sticker on them. An organic apple from Cape town will definitely be cheaper than an organic apple from New Zealand.
Buy Produce that is in season – these are always cheaper and easier to find in many markets and supermarkets. Buying what is in season is always best as you get the freshest produce possible.
Wash your fruits and vegetables – even though they are organic, they still have some dirt and bacteria on them.
The next time you are at a shop and looking for fresh produce, remember that the decision that you make will affect you, your family and many other people. Help save the world one organic product at a time.
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