One glaring problem within the growing organic and natural food marketplace is that just because something is labelled “organic” doesn’t mean it is free of pesticides, chemicals, and other toxins. There was a recent study by our Canadian neighbors that found that pesticides contaminated nearly half of the organic produce sampled. What’s more, there are plenty of naturally derived pesticides, fungicides and insecticides that are approved for organic farming in this country. Not only does their being natural make them less harmful to people, but often they require heavier usage, compared to synthetic alternatives, to be equally effective.
It’s unfortunate to admit, but factory farming is factory farming, regardless of whether it’s organic or not. Most of these large organic farms that provide the food you find in the “organic” section of your large supermarket chains use pesticides. Yes, they are certified organic, but one could make the argument that the USDA has a history of putting business interests ahead of those of the consumer. As Michael Pollan, best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, was recently quoted in Organic Gardening , “They’re organic by the letter, not organic in spirit… if most organic consumers went to those places, they would feel they were getting ripped off.”
So what’s a concerned and informed food-lover supposed to do to? Obviously, the simplest solution is to grow your own food. That way you decide what does and doesn’t go into your food. You also doing something towards lessening soil erosion, promoting biodiversity, and reducing your carbon footprint. Whether you have the space in your backyard, or can find a community garden nearby to get involved with, more people are waking up to this DIY approach to solving their food safety concerns. Here’s 10 great reasons to grow your own organic food right here!
Not everyone has room for a garden in their backyard or have access to a community garden (although there’s always the possibility of starting one if you have like-minded neighbors). The next best option is to locate the farmer’s markets in your community that represent smaller, more sustainable farms. These folks make their living catering to the organic and natural foods consumer and are genuinely concerned with making sure that they provide the highest quality of product with minimal use of the yucky, poisonous stuff. The BerryBreeze™ team has spent the last few months really getting to know the folks that do our farmer’s markets here in Vegas, one very nice lady grows amazing stuff, everything from carrots to kale, in her backyard right down the street. These markets are great community resources to help each other source real, healthy food. Many smaller farms have opted out of the national organic program and have taken to calling themselves “certified naturally grown”, even though they operate in a way that is consistent and organic farming. When you finally understand that simply using the term “organic” does not mean you are not necessarily getting clean, safe food, these natural growers are providing a real alternative at the local level.