Organic, is it worth it?

Aspen Johnson

 With school starting back up, I thought I would turn to more relevant articles about my schooling. As you may or may not know, I am a student at Oregon State University studying agriculture and am in love with it. While I'm focusing on animal science, I also have to take classes about silly things like plants, tractors and communication.

Something that has always bothered me, ever since I started studying agriculture, is the belief that organic is better. Whether it be because it's more expensive or the false facts of it being healthier and farmers use less chemicals in organic production. 

Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of work to convert a farm from conventional to organic production. I also praise farmers who do this, it can take up to five years to get an organic certification and then there are guidelines that must be followed to keep that certification. What is little known, organic production can also use chemicals on their crops and some of these chemicals are even worst for you then the conventional counter-product. 

There's a lot of misconceptions about the fact that organic does use pesticides and herbicides. That's what I have issues about, the marketing of organic. If you buy a product, don't you want to know the truth? Isn't that why there's the "non-GMO" and "certified organic" labels on your food? That's fine, sure, go ahead. What bothers me is the misinformation surrounding these labels. 

Just because organic is more, does not mean it's better. Studies have shown that organic is no more nutritious than conventional products. This article does quote that there are less chemical residues on organic produce, but does not state which residues were tested for. If that study only focused on conventional residues, then of course organic will have less. I would like to see a study that actually focuses researches organic chemical residues on organic products.

By that logic, you're paying more for a label. So let's look at organic production and the ecosystem. While all farmers are moving towards better soil healthy and a smaller impact on the ecosystem, organic may have an edge.

According to the picture above, which links to a phys.org article, organic is doing a lot better than conventional products. While I'm not sure about the two pesticide categories, (what pesticides were tested for?,) it's hard to argue the fact that conventional is better for the ecosystem.

Conventional farmers are trying to improve items such as soil health and water pollution, it looks like organic has a head start. Methods such as no till and genetically engineered organisms are allowing conventional farmers to increase soil health and reduce pesticide use on their fields.

So it's up to you, do you buy organic for the environment or for your health? I can't tell you what to do. You're the one that needs to do the research and decide for yourself it organic is really worth the money or not. If you ask me, I'll respond by saying that if it burns, it's organic. Everything that's left behind is inorganic. 

As always and until next time,
Aspen Johnson


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