Surprisingly, while information is widely available, much of the population is still confused about the benefits of organic food and its superiority over non-organic food.

What Is Organic Food?

Organic food, be it plant- or animal-based, is anything that conforms to organic farming standards. These vary worldwide, of course, but in the United States, they are set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the United Kingdom where I live, they are set by an organisation such as the Soil Association. A study conducted by this association shows that half of people buying organic food do so for the health benefits and lack of chemical residues, while others do so to protect the environment and support animal welfare.

While people may purchase organic food for different reasons, all of the benefits of organic food can be enjoyed by everyone. So let’s review just four of the benefits organic food can offer each one of us.

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Organic Food Is More Flavourful

Putting aside all the potential health benefits and improved nutritional value, the first thing that springs to mind when talking about locally grown organic fruits and vegetables is flavour. Nothing tastes quite like strawberries bought at a farmer’s market in June or Cox’s apples in October. When grown organically, fruits and vegetables are only available at certain times of the year due to their natural cycle.

Eating seasonably ensures you get the most natural, nutrient-packed food that didn’t require excess energy to grow, which also happens to significantly improve the carbon footprint. The reason organic food tastes better might come down to lower crop yields and higher levels of antioxidants. There is more nitrogen available in the soil for fewer fruits and vegetables, resulting in crops densely packed with flavour and nutrients.

Organic Food Helps Preserve Wildlife

By choosing organic foods, you are also taking part in preserving wildlife for generations to come. Because of restricted use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides, organic farms are safe havens for a variety of local species. Organic farmers go that extra mile in helping preserve the natural habitats by maintaining hedgerows, planting flowers and managing grasslands and ponds. By supporting these fragile ecosystems, they are ensuring that important species of bees, butterflies, birds and small animals are not driven to extinction.

Organic Food Is Sustainably Farmed

Organic food is also sustainably farmed. This means resources are recycled to minimize waste. This is becoming increasingly important in a world where finite resources are disappearing by the minute. There are a lot of problems associated with large scale industrial farming, such as soil erosion, chemicals leaking into bio-systems and the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farmers avoid all these issues by using natural fertilizers, such as manure produced by farm animals, and choosing crop varieties with natural resistance to particular pests and diseases. They also rotate crops to keep soil full of nutrients. Despite popular belief, soil is a non-renewable resource and preserving it for future generations is of paramount importance.

Organic Food Lowers Food Miles

There are other less obvious factors to consider when buying food as well. One such factor is the amount of time required for your dinner to arrive at your table. This is often measured in “farm-to-fork” hours or food miles.

A lot of fruits and vegetables, especially out of season, are imported to the UK, for example, which is not surprising given the climate conditions. The transportation this produce requires, however, is what contributes to the carbon footprint. Think of all the miles bananas travel from countries like Colombia and the Dominican Republic and the emissions those cargo vehicles produce. Although buying local seasonal fruits and vegetables is normally the answer to the food miles’ problem, certain fruits like bananas do not naturally grow in the UK. In cases like this, look for the organic certification on the packaging. Not only will this food be more nutritious and flavoursome for you, it will help the economy and environment in other countries. We are all in this together after all!

Many More Benefits Of Organic Food

These are just four of the benefits of organic food. There are certainly many more. Next time you go to the grocery store, remember to choose organically certified foods because they’re going to be more flavourful and nutritious for you and better and more sustainable for the environment.

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