Buying, preparing and eating sustainable food
Everything about the hidden impact of your purchases and tips that can make a big difference
Reading time : 3 minutes
Organic food is not necessarily the better choice. It all depends on your needs of course? If you are looking for the cheapest way to feel full, organic is most certainly not the way to go. But if you believe that food influences your health and the environment, you mind want to read this article.
The main driver for people to buy organic food is because they think it is healthier. This is partly true.
- Eating organic food reduces the amount of chemicals in your diet namely persistent pesticides. And it limits artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Cleaner food means a cleaner diet.
- Organic food has lower levels of toxic metals. Everything we ingest comes from the soil. So, the fact that organic farming uses less toxic metals than ordinary agriculture means you minimise your consumption of toxic metals. New studies confirm that organic crops have 48% lower levels of the toxic metal cadmium than conventional crops.
- The only thing that science can’t proof is that organic food has more nutrients. Countless publications in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Annals of Internal Medicine conclude that fruits and vegetables from conventional agriculture are just as good as those from organic ones. There have been cases of organic vegetables that contain more potassium. But nothing mind-blowing.
The mantra for every organic farmer is 'healthy soil creates healthy food and a healthy environment'.
- So to produce healthy soil, you need to use natural organic fertilisers and soil amendments (things you can compost), green manures (cover crops grown specifically for soil improvement, e.g. legumes), and animal manures (with safety restrictions). When food is grown in healthy soil, crops get stronger and have a better change of surviving drought, diseases and insect.
- Harmful chemicals used in agriculture eventually leave the soil and get in our water supplies. Because organic farmers don't use harmful chemicals, they don't contribute to the solution of our water supplies.
Organic farming doesn’t expose farmworkers and neighbouring communities too dangerous pesticides.
Farmers and farm workers are at great risk of being exposed to pesticides. And term pesticide exposure has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease; asthma; depression and anxiety; attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); and cancer, including leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
People living near a big farm or a conventionally managed park or playing field are also at risk for exposure.
Organic farms and crops are pollinator-friendly. The Organic Center released a report showing that organic farming has an important role to play in supporting the health of our pollinators. This is because organic farming standards not only prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, many of which are highly toxic to bees and can be persistent in the environment but also require that organic producers manage their farms in a manner that fosters biodiversity and improves natural resources.
You don't have to be a romanticus to experience the difference in quality and taste. Nitrogen plays a major role in this. Soil that is regular sprayed with any type of chemical contains much more nitrogen. And nitrogen make fruits and vegetables grow faster, which gives them less time to grow into strong, healthy and tasty crops. Have you ever noticed that non-organic fruit and vegetables often taste really weak and watery?
Sources: Mens en Gezondheid, Vrij Nederland, NRC, Volkskrant, Salvestrolen.info, Bedrock Stichting Orthokennis, Milieu Centraal.