Why Eating Organic is Good for You and the Environment

We’ve all been told that organic food is better for us; it contains more minerals and less dangerous chemicals, but many people don’t stop to think about the benefits organic food has on the environment and on its producers.

In addition to various other benefits, organic products put fewer pesticides, fertilizers, and other dangerous chemicals into the environment. This makes it beneficial for not only your family, but for other families now and in the future.

One major benefit of reduced chemicals from agriculture is an improvement in soil quality. Organic farming works to build the soil naturally through companion planting and crop rotations. This works with the natural system to keep the soil healthy. Traditional agriculture uses chemicals to supplement soil; treating the symptom without treating the cause.

Think all the chemicals from agriculture end up in the plants or soil? Think again. Water from rain or irrigation doesn’t all stay on the fields. It can run off into lakes, rivers, and streams. It can also seep deep into the soil and enter underground water supplies. And when this water leaves the fields, it takes all the dangerous chemicals with it.

So even if you don’t eat the food produced by traditional agriculture, you could still be getting these chemicals through your local water supply. And while many places control the amount of these chemicals, others can’t. In many rural areas, the only available source of water is from the ground.

If you’re worried about the effect these dangerous chemicals might have on your family, think of the consequences of working with these chemicals every day. People who work on traditional farms are exposed to fertilizers and pesticides more often and in higher amounts than your family will ever be. There are many cases every year of people being poisoned with agricultural chemicals; accidentally and intentionally.

Pesticides can affect wildlife in the area. If you kill off all the bugs, the birds have nothing to eat. Then the animals that eat the birds will also have nothing to eat. If animals survive, but still have chemicals in their system, they can poison larger animals that eat them.

What may be the worst affect of traditional agriculture is that its other practices make the need for pesticides and fertilizers greater. Planting the same crop year after year can make your plants more susceptible to pests. Failing to keep the soil from washing away makes the new soil require more fertilizers so plants will grow. Traditional farming is taking no steps to reduce their use of chemicals, just to make them greater.

In addition to the benefits of chemical free agriculture, organic producers work with the environment as a system. They promote conservation of water and soil and strive to keep the land the way it is so future generations can work the land as well.

Gina Buss is a biologist and freelance environmental writer.
Learn ways to save money while protecting the environment.

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