Is organic better?

In a world now more conscious of environment and health, Meggie Williams considers the benefits of buying organic products

Meggie Williams
3rd March 2020
Image: Bethany Szentesi on Unsplash
In a phenomenon of ‘you are what you eat’ its no surprise that organic has become somewhat of a buzzword as we think more carefully about what we eat.

If this were a romantic comedy, organic would be the wholesome superhero (with a kilowatt smile) that humbly saves the world from the clutches of artificial chemicals in the growing of plants and animals for food. I’m here to investigate what all the hullabaloo is about…

Better for the planet

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that organic faming is immeasurably better for the planet. In the words of Soil Association Organic, organic farming works with nature to “reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy”. On top of all of these, the avoidance of preservatives on fresh products promotes a more seasonal, local diet, which does not have a huge carbon footprint to answer for. Finally, organic farming promotes higher levels of animal welfare and the lack of pesticides is better for the surrounding fauna, flora and people.

Image: Miriam Espacio on Unsplash

Better for overall health

The investigation into whether organic is significantly better for your health is under much deliberation; it is generally accepted that there are benefits but questions as to whether these justify the bigger price tag? There are definitely some areas where its been proven worthwhile to go organic, for example organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients, sometimes up to 50% higher, and eating organic fruit and vegetables could increase your antioxidant intake by 20-40%. In other situations, peeling the vegetables can remove the majority of the artificial chemicals.

Going organic on a student budget

Despite the often significantly more expensive price tag of organic products in supermarkets, organic eating can be viable on a student budget. First of all, shop in smaller, independent shops that often buy straight from local farms, for example Grainer Market or the fruit and veg stalls on Northumberland road. Secondly, pick and choose what you go organic with; known as the Dirty Dozen, there are a list of fruit and veg that have the highest amount of pesticides and thus, worth avoiding. You could sign up to an organic box scheme that delivers local, seasonal veg right to your front door or get your hands a little dirty down as Ouseburn farm or the city’s allotments.

Image: RNshotfirst on Unsplash

"We all moan and groan about the loss of the quality of life through the destruction of our ecology, and yet every one of us, in our own little comfortable ways, contributes daily to that destruction. It's time now to awaken in each one of us the respect and attention our beloved Mother deserves." - Ed Asner

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