Friday, September 24, 2010

10 benefits for organic farmers and organic food consumers

Important benefits for organic farmers and organic food consumers

  1. Organic farming is a science within itself that conventional farmers can learn while they transfer their capital resources and skills to master a trade that can be even more profitable than conventional farming.
  2. Researchers in the United States have found that by following organic farming methods, conventional farmer’s can actually reduce production cost by over 25%. This is Important benefits for organic farmers and organic food consumersaccomplished by eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, minimizing soil erosion by up to 50% and increasing crop yields up to five-fold within five years.
  3. Regardless of products produced, a well planned transition strategy will allow conventional farmers to adopt new, more effective organic farming process in as little as three to five years.
  4. Organic farms can support substantially higher levels of wildlife especially in lowlands and where animals can roam pastures or graze on grassland. Not only does wildlife benefit, but entire ecosystems and ground water are improved by simply following organic farming methods.
  5. Organic farming practices not only benefit farmers and consumers; but the dairies can benefit. When dairies feed their cows organic feed and graze them on organic fields, the cows experience better health, less sickness, diseases and ultimately produce better tasting milk for consumers.
  6. Organic farming promotes soils that are teaming with life and rich in micro nutrients which can be used for decades to grow crops virtually year round in many parts of the world.
  7. Consumers purchasing organically grown foods can taste the difference and see the quality of virtually any organic product they buy. Regardless of minimal price differences, consumers can smell, taste and see the difference in the quality of organically grown food products.
  8. Consumers buy organically groImportant benefits for organic farmers and organic food consumerswn food products not just because of competitive prices, but due to the increased availability of organic food products as seen in both grocery and organic food specialty stores.
  9. Organically grown products are free from harmful chemicals, artificial flavors and preservatives that ultimately cost consumers money when they purchase non-organically grown products. You can always taste the difference between organically grown and conventionally grown products.
  10. Eating organic foods may in fact, reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer for individuals who abstain from consuming products produced by conventional farming methods. Biochemist are continually researching the inherent benefits of organically grown foods and discovering the consequences consuming products loaded with toxins and chemicals which, until recently, have only begun to be introduced to humans. The fact is, you ultimately are what you eat.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eat Organic Food to Be Healthy

Eating healthy, eating organic, and finding good quality organic food all seem to go hand in hand nowadays. The question often arises whether eating healthy and eating organically is an expensive endeavor to undertake.

First of all, if the price is the only thing determining your choice, then yes, organic food turns out to be more expensive than traditional Food. However, it should not be the only criteria when making this life decision. It is important to consider that organic foods contain more nutrieEat Organic Food to Be Healthynts, making it reasonable to eat less organic food while at the same time, spending less than you would if you maintained a lower-value, traditionally-grown food diet. Eating less organic food means buying less organic food, which in the end could be less expensive than maintaining a traditional diet. Not only do you gain more nutrients by eating healthier foods, but you are less likely to become ill in the long run. Being able to maintain your physical balance with better health can lead to less frequent visits to the doctor as well as decreased time away from work. It also makes sense to consider that with more energy from a revamped organic diet, you may be more productive during the days that you are at work.

By comparing prices at your local super market, you may uncover interesting facts. You may notice that the difference in price is not significant enough to stop you from switching over to organic products. Certain items such as organic fresh fruit may even come at a discount if you shop at the right times. Because many organic fresh fruits and vegetables are grown without the aid of pesticides, their shelf life is shorter than that of traditionally-grown foods. This means that in order to get rid of these fruits and vegetables before they become spoiled, organic markets often provide their products at half-price during certain times of the week.

Eating raw organic food is another reason why traditional food may end up being more expensive in the long run. After just a few weeks of eating raw food, you'll find that your body starts to become assimilated to absorbing nutrients more efficiently. This means that the same person on a raw organic diet can reap the same nutrients as an individual of similar size who is used to eating foods that are more processed. As it turns out, highly processed and lower quality foods tend to have only a fraction of the nutrients that quality organic foods have.

One more point that supports the argument that organic food can actually save you money, is that by concentrating on eating a nutrient-rich diet, you can decrease food craving episodes. Binging on low-quality fillers tends to be a byproduct of a body that is used to low-nutrient foods. Many cravings are the result of a malnourished body that is calling out for the nutrients that it needs. When you maintain an organic diet that is rich in quality nutrients, you often end up spending less money filling a void that is left from low-grade filler.

Once all these factors have been considered, it makes more sense to believe that nourishing your body with the highest-quality foods available, may not just be the best choice for your body, but also for your wallet.
Why eat organic foods? Organic foods contain more nutrients and you are likely to be able to maintain your physical balance making you more productive during the days you’re at work.

Advantages and Disadvantages Organic Farming

Organic farming is a type of agriculture that benefits from the recycling and use of natural products. Extensive use of dried foliage and kitchen compost not only reduces the investment overheads, but also ensures the growth of crops that are devoid of synthetic interference. The technique is characterized by the use of green manure, biological pest control methods and special cultivation techniques to maintain soil productivity. Limiting the use of synthetic fertilizers or completely doing away with them reduces the risk of exposure to ailments that arise on account of synthetic pesticides, ingrained plant growth regulators and the presence of genetically modified organisms in organic food products. Today, organic farming caters to a major and preferred industry, worldwide. Organically grown food products have a huge market catered to, by farmlands covering approximately 10% of the total world-farmland cover. The initial effort made by Sir Albert Howard, the Father of Organic Farming, has paid off, metamorphosing into a practice that sustains soil health and ecosystems, by relying on biodiversity, ecological processes and the progress of innovative health sciences.


The nutritional value of food is largely a function of its vitamin and mineral content. In this regard, organically grown food is dramatically superior in mineral content to that grown by modern conventional methods. advantages and disadvantages organic farming

Because it fosters the life of the soil organic farming reaps the benefits soil life offers in greatly facilitated plant access to soil nutrients.

Healthy plants mean healthy people, and such better nourished plants provide better nourishment to people and animals alike.

Poison-free advantages and disadvantages organic farming

A major benefit to consumers of organic food is that it is free of contamination with health harming chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.

As you would expect of populations fed on chemically grown foods, there has been a profound upward trend in the incidence of diseases associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in industrialized societies. advantages and disadvantages organic farming advantages and disadvantages organic farming

advantages and disadvantages organic farming advantages and disadvantages organic farming

Take cancer for example. Representative data on the number of new cancer cases in New South Wales, Australia has been collected by the New South Wales Central Cancer Registry.

Adjusted to take account of our aging population, their graph (above) shows that between 1972 and 2004 the incidence of new cancer cases per year (average for both sexes) has risen from 323 to 488 per 100,000 people. This is an increase of over 50% in just 32 years. advantages and disadvantages organic farming

Food Tastes Better advantages and disadvantages organic farming

Animals and people have the sense of taste to allow them to discern the quality of the food they ingest.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that organically grown food tastes better than that conventionally grown. The tastiness of fruit and vegetables is directly related to its sugar content, which in turn is a function of the quality of nutrition that the plant itself has enjoyed.

This quality of fruit and vegetable can be empirically measured by subjecting its juice to Brix analysis, which is a measure of its specific gravity (density). The Brix score is widely used in testing fruit and vegetables for their quality prior to export.

Food Keeps Longer

Organically grown plants are nourished naturally, rendering the structural and metabolic integrity of their cellular structure superior to those conventionally grown. As a result, organically grown foods can be stored longer and do not show the latter’s susceptibility to rapid mold and rotting.

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GROWER BENEFITS: advantages and disadvantages organic farming

A healthy plant grown organically in properly balanced soil resists most diseases and insect pests.

This was proven by US doctor and soil nutrition pioneer Dr Northern who conducted many experiments to test the hypothesis during the 1930’s.

Disease and Pest Resistance

For instance, in an orange grove infested with scale, he restored the mineral balance to part of the soil and the trees growing in that part became clean while the rest remained diseased.

By the same means he grew healthy rosebushes between rows that were riddled by insects, and tomato and cucumber plants, both healthy and diseased, where the vines intertwined. Northern observed that the bugs ate up the diseased and refused to touch the healthy plants!

Weed Competitiveness

Weeds are nature’s band-aids, placed by the wisdom of creation to heal and restore damaged soils. When farmers husband the life of the soil, as they do in organic agriculture, the improved conditions dissuade many weeds and favor their crops. The crops, being healthier, are also better able to compete with those weeds that are present.

Lower Input Costs

By definition, organic farming does not incur the use of expensive agrichemicals – they are not permitted! The greater resistance of their crops to pests and the diseases save farmers significantly in expensive insecticides, fungicides and other pesticides.

Fertilizers are either created in situ by green manuring and leguminous crop rotation or on-farm via composting and worm farming. Biodynamic farmers use a low cost microbial solution sprayed onto their crops.

The creation of living, fertile soil conditions through early corrective soil re-mineralization and strategic Keyline chisel ploughing are significant establishment costs that, however, reap ongoing benefits to production at minimal maintenance.

Drought Resistance

Organically grown plants are more drought tolerant. This was dramatically illustrated to me several years ago when I was fortunate to attend a workshop with Australian organic gardening guru Peter Bennett. A slide he showed us has stuck in my mind ever since: it was a field of wheat, organically grown on re-mineralized soil.

Bisecting the ripening green crop was a wide yellowed strip that had already finished growing and hayed off. He explained that the strip had been nourished using agrichemical fertilizer early in the growing period.

Because chemical fertilizer is soluble, plants are forced to imbibe it every time they are thirsty for water. They can and do enjoy good growth as long as water is readily available. As soon as water becomes limited, however, the soluble nutrient salts in the cells of chemically fed plants are unable to osmotically draw sufficient water to maintain safe dilution. They soon reach toxic concentrations, and the plant stops growing, hays off and dies earlier than it otherwise would have.

Added Value

There is a discerning market of consumers who recognize the greater food value of organic produce and are willing to pay premium prices for it. In an interview with me in 1998, the manager of Heinz-Watties in New Zealand explained how his company had been actively supporting and recruiting farmers to organic production in order to service large and lucrative markets in Japan and Europe.



Proponents of industrialized agriculture point to its superior productivity. In the short term, this yield is possible by expending massive inputs of chemicals and machinery, working over bland fields of a single crop (monoculture).

However, over the longer time frame, productivity advantages dwindle. In my years working with broadacre farmers in the wheatbelt of WA, it was common for them to remark on how much richer pastures and crops were in their youth.

Industrialized agriculture thrashes the land, and diminishes its soil life to the point where it can no longer function to convert available organic matter into soil fertility. Productivity begins to wane, and attempts to bolster it with increasing chemical inputs (common advice from farm consultants) has a similar effect to flogging a dead horse.

Because it relies on living soil to build fertility, the benefits of organic farming for soil life is fundamental to its methods.benefits organic farming soil

Organic farming benefits food production without destroying our environmental resources, ensuring sustainability for not only the current but also future generations.


While their conventional counterparts may sow by direct drilling of seed into herbicide treated soils, organic farmers are usually at least partly dependent on cultivation to remove weeds prior to sowing. In contrast to cultivation, direct drilling does not mechanically disrupt soil structure and removes the risk of exposed soil being lost to wind or water erosion.

This is a valid argument where farmers are working marginal quality soils. However, the structure of agrichemically-deadened soils is weakened by the corresponding loss of soil life and thus unable to maintain its integrity under occasional cultivation. So it’s a circular argument!

Structurally sound (life-rich) soils may be cultivated regularly without significant damage, particularly if protected appropriately by windbreaks and Keyline soil conservation measures.

Even the need to cultivate may be questioned… After noticing rice thriving wild amongst weeds on roadsides, Japanese alternative agriculturalist Masanobu Fukuoka succeeded in establishing crops by broadcasting seed coated in clay onto untilled land.

GM Crops

Organic growers do not use genetically modified or engineered food crops, some of which are engineered to tolerate herbicides (e.g. “Roundup Ready Canola”) or resist pests (e.g. Bollworm resistant cotton). Conventional growers, on the other hand, are free to “take advantage” of GM crops.

According to a report from the Directorate-General for Agriculture of the European Commission, productivity gains attributed to GM crops are usually negligible when growing conditions, farmer experience and soil types are factored in, and are often in fact negative. The main advantage farmers using such crops gain is convenience only.

There are worrying indications that GM crops may be associated with harm to both human health and the environment. The main concern is that once they are released it is nigh impossible to “un-release” them.

Tractor cultivating the soil. Photo: Fabio Cabrera advantages and disadvantages organic farming


Indeed, organic farming requires greater interaction between a farmer and his crop for observation, timely intervention and weed control for instance. It is inherently more labor intensive than chemical/mechanical agriculture so that, naturally a single farmer can produce more crop using industrial methods than he or she could by solely organic methods.

Skill advantages and disadvantages organic farming

It requires considerably more skill to farm organically. However, because professional farming of any sort naturally imparts a close and observant relationship to living things, the best organic farmers are converted agrichemical farmers.

Organic farmers do not have some convenient chemical fix on the shelf for every problem they encounter. They have to engage careful observation and greater understanding in order to know how to tweak their farming system to correct the cause of the problem rather than simply putting a plaster over its effect.

This is a bigger issue during the conversion period from conventional to wholly organic when both the learning curve and transition related problems are peaking (it takes time to build a healthy farm ecosystem that copes well without synthetic crutches). Organic farmers I have interviewed report that their most valuable remedies and advice come from other organic farmers.


Climate Friendly

The synthetic inputs upon which conventional agriculture is so dependent are energy expensive to mine and manufacture. Today the embodied energy of industrial agriculture uses up 9 calories for every 1 calorie of food that it produces!

Organic agriculture with its low input needs of naturally derived substances produces less greenhouse gas emissions and is considerably more climate friendly.

Ecologically Friendly

It doesn’t use soluble fertilizers…

Though rarely acknowledged, the chief source of the annual algae blooms that plague Perth’s major river (the Swan) is conventional agriculture.

Farmers pour tons of phosphate and nitrogenous fertilizer on their cropping lands every year. Because it is soluble, much of this fertilizer is either washed off the soil surface and into waterways (especially phosphates) or leaches through the soil profile beyond the reach of plants and finds its way less directly into waterways (especially nitrates). Nitrate contamination of groundwater (indicated by >10 mg/L nitrate) in Australia is widespread in every state and territory, occurring over regional and local scales (LWRRDC 1999). In many areas, the concentration is greater than the recently revised Australian Drinking Water Guidelines level of 50 mg/L nitrate (as nitrate), resulting in groundwater that is unfit for drinking. In some of the more contaminated areas, the concentration is in excess of 100 mg/L (LWRRDC 1999).

With fresh water reserves under increasing pressure from climate change this is a grave situation for humanity.

The soluble nutrient pollutants that contaminate surface waters fuel the overgrowth of algae. What is not used up by algae in fresh waterways, spews out into the ocean where it supports the growth of algae on sea plants and coral reef systems. This blocks access to sunlight, causing whatever it smothers to die.

Eighty percent of the seagrass meadows in Perth’s Cockburn Sound – an important nursery habitat for wild fish stocks - have been decimated due to this process which is called “eutrophication”.

It doesn’t use pesticides or herbicides

Another pollution disaster caused by agrichemical use is the contamination of groundwater reserves with poisonous nasties, particularly (in Australia) Atrazine and Simazine, but also Dieldrin, Chlorpyriphos, Amitrol, Metolachlor, Trifluraline and Diuron Dieldrin, Lindane, and Alachlor.

While systematic monitoring of pesticide contamination of groundwater in Australia is limited, available tests have detected pesticides in at least 20% of samples, indicating significant contamination (Australia State of the Environment Report 2001).

Groundwater studies in the US have found similarly significant contamination. In Carolina, for example, over 27% of wells sampled in 1997 were found to be contaminated with pesticides predominantly from routine agricultural usage.

Agrichemicals are life negative.  Photo: Rubenshito There is no economically viable method to clean up widespread contamination. Pesticide contamination poses a serious, unreasonable public health threat to current and future ground water users. advantages and disadvantages organic farming

Synthetic agrichemicals (and most plastics widely used in our society) are derived from oil, and thus a source of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (especially xenoestrogens) in the environment. Distorted sex organ development and function in alligators has been related to a major pesticide spill into a lake in Florida, U.S.A. advantages and disadvantages organic farming

There is also evidence to link xenoestrogens to a range of human medical concerns, particularly reproductive problems such as reduced sperm count in men and breast cancer in women.

Even the “safest” herbicides such as Roundup (glycophosphate) – the second most widely used in the USA - are now known to pose a danger to wetland ecologies, and can totally decimate frog populations at routine contamination levels.


Agrichemical farming is extremely energy reliant, particularly in the extraction, manufacture and processing of the synthetic chemicals upon which it is so dependent.

In a world of diminishing oil supplies the days of chemical agriculture are numbered! advantages and disadvantages organic farming

One has only to study the experience of Cuba to know this is so. In the early 1990s Cuba had the most industrialized agriculture in Latin America, fueled by cheap, readily available Soviet oil. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, this supply was cut, virtually overnight.

At first Cuba was faced with dire food shortages, and despite rationing the average Cuban lost 10 kilograms in weight! Hungry people responded by becoming farmers – lawyers, teachers, truck drivers… everyone learned to garden!

Under the community-focused direction of its socialist leadership, Cuba rapidly made a successful transition to organic agriculture and more labor intensive methods, including reintroducing the use of bullocks in the cultivation of crops.