What Organic Actually Means
Recently there has been a huge push for organic. I see the term “organic” being used everywhere, but what does it actually mean. Organic is defined by the USDA as:
Food produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.
This is important to know, because food production is only one part of what should be an organic food cycle. What do I mean by that? Simply put, labeling of organic brings up to standard food, by removal of poisons, to a quality which already should exist. What or who, I should say, it does not protect is the farmer. It also does not protect how humanely animals must be treated. This is the biggest piece of information most consumers of organic foods do not realize.
Huge food production companies that have been selling us pesticide infected foods for decades are the primary suppliers of organic. This leaves out the small farmer, the family farms, which used to be the back bone of agriculture production in America.
When I first started eating and buying organic I loved the fact that I could spend 10x more on food just to be able to eat it as nature intended in the first place (heavy sarcasm). But now it is not enough to be able to just eat clean. It is not enough to pay seven dollars for milk to a company like Organic Horizons. We need to scrutinize what organic companies we are giving our money too.
As customers we have to become educated, because it is our lack of it that makes us malleable.
So why does it matter which company we choose, as long as its organic? Because if we don’t we will end up in the same place as we were. Organic food is not enough. The food production model itself needs to change. Additional factors need to be checked in order for a product and company to sell organic. How humanely were the animals treated, how clean were their living conditions, did they die a stress free death, where is the majority of the money going, how well is the small farmer being rewarded? All these issues matter. They matter because the food you choose to eat impacts so much more then we realize. It matters because this over production has created an artificial food market that sells us both the poison and the antidote.