Beyond the Buzzword: The Real Meaning of Organic

The term “organic” refers to specific methods employed in cultivating and processing agricultural products. Livestock intended for meat, eggs, and dairy products must be raised in conditions that support their natural behaviours, such as the ability to graze on pasture. Additionally, they must be provided with organic feed and forage and should not receive antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.


Real Meaning of Organic


Organic v. Non-Organic: Produce and Animal Products

When comparing organic produced products to conventionally produced products, the distinctions lie in the methods of cultivation and pest control. Organic crops are grown using natural fertilisers like manure and compost, and weeds are managed through techniques such as crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling, or with organic-approved herbicides.

For instance, organic almonds will take more effort and time to deliver similar yields. In contrast, conventionally grown produce relies on synthetic or chemical fertilisers and employs chemical herbicides for weed control, which can be faster overall.

In the organic sector, livestock are provided with all-organic, hormone-free, and GMO-free feed. Moreover, organic livestock must have access to the outdoors. On the other hand, conventionally-raised meat, dairy, and eggs involve the use of growth hormones for faster development and the inclusion of non-organic, GMO feed. Disease prevention is often reliant on antibiotics and medications, and whether or not the livestock have access to the outdoors varies.


The Advantages of Organic Food

Organic products often have a higher concentration of beneficial nutrients, including antioxidants, compared to their conventionally-grown counterparts. Individuals with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives may experience reduced symptoms when only consuming organic foods. It is not always the case, but organic products are often developed at smaller farms closer to the point of scale.

Organically raised animals undergo different treatment with no antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal byproducts in their diet. That is the main thing that makes meat, eggs, etc. organically produced!  Organically raised animals typically also have way more space and outdoor access, which is likely to increase their overall well-being.

Furthermore, organic meat and milk may offer richer nutritional profiles, some argue. A 2016 European study found that levels of certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk compared to conventionally raised counterparts.

Comparing Organic and Locally-Grown Food

Unlike organic standards, the concept of “local food” lacks a specific definition, encompassing produce grown within your immediate community, state, region, or country. Throughout a significant portion of the year, locally grown food is readily available at venues like farmers’ markets. Financially, choosing locally grown food keeps money circulating within the local economy. A higher proportion of the purchase price goes directly to the farmer, rather than being allocated to expenses like marketing and distribution.

Addressing transportation considerations, the average distance a meal travels from the farm to the dinner plate in the U.S. exceeds 1,500 miles. This extensive travel often requires picking produce while still unripe, followed by the artificial ripening methods after transport, or the use of extensive processing in factories involving preservatives and irradiation to ensure stability during transit.



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