With the push for organic foods, have you considered transitioning to organics or do you already grow organic? As more and more people become aware of what they are putting into their bodies, the push for organic produce keeps growing. In certain areas of the United States, such as where I live, the supply cannot keep up with the demand. Small farmer's markets are the only source of organic food items and they sell out fast, leaving most people scrambling to get there early enough to avoid going home empty-handed.
For crops to be certified organic, the soil in which they are grown must meet certain criteria. This soil must be free of prohibited substances for three years before crops grown on it can be certified organic and those grown in the interim are not considered organic. Also necessary is the adaptation of organic methods such as possibly making changes in crop rotation, composting, and manure use. Sewage sludge and municipal solid waste use are prohibited.
Additionally, pest control use is regulated. The National List of Acceptable and Prohibited Materials sets forth guidelines for seed treatments and fertilizers, determining which are acceptable and which are not. Just because something is all natural does not mean it is approved for organic use; environmental impact must be considered as well, with long-term potential for harm leading the charge.
An example of the regulations set forth by this list include manner of manufacture of substances used, how they are used, and what means of disposal are necessary. None of these can have a negative impact on the environment or substances will be ruled out for use. Additionally, food produced as a result of using certain substances must not be of compromised nutritional value and cannot decompose in a manner that is detrimental to the environment or releases toxins. Substances that act primarily as preservatives may not be used, nor may those that enhance or improve colors or textures. Human health may not be jeopardized in any way by these substances.
The rules for organic certification are stringent. Organic produce requires more attention and does not have as long of a shelf life, but in comparison has a better, cleaner taste. Growing our own organic gardens have yielded crops that taste far better than those purchased in grocery stores. With pesticide dangers and genetic modification being heavily debated in the media, it is time we all do our research and decide what is best for us and our families. The added expense and time that goes into certified organic produce may be a bit taxing, but is also very worthwhile when you consider the benefits.
What seems to be missing from mainstream media are reports from the actual men on the ground, those who lovingly tend to crops and protect them at all costs. With so much hype being broadcast regarding what is wrong, it is easy to forget what is right, such as good food grown in a healthy environment with care and compassion for consumers in mind. A big thank you is in order for those who grow without compromise; it is appreciated.