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10 Reasons To Go Organic

Written by Jesse Richardson on July 11, 2012 with 33 Comments

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Green valley during sunsetOur lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on the world around us. From shaping your own and your family’s health to affecting the environment and natural world, the daily decisions we make have both long-term and short-term consequences.

I’d like to draw attention to the concept of the “Butterfly Effect.” Developed by American meteorologist Edward Lorenz, though inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Sound of Thunder,” the logic behind the Butterfly Effect states that even small, seemingly unimportant actions nevertheless have tremendous and powerful effects down the line. While Lorenz theorized this in the sense of weather conditions, the root the idea can hold true for human action. If anything, it can serve to be a powerful analogy: imagine a butterfly flapping its wings, and a hurricane subsequently occurring a hundred miles away.

Because of the implications behind this concept, it’s important that we choose our lifestyles wisely. For those of us “going organic”, what is it we are contributing to the world? How are we lowering the chances for dire and unpredictable future consequences?

Going organic can mean a lot of things. Most importantly, however, going organic means you’re…

Reason 1. Supporting water, soil, and air

Organic farming is defined as the use of composting, green manure, crop rotation, and natural, biological pest control. Here, farmers avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, as well as genetically modified seeds.

What this means is that the soil is naturally cultivated; for generations to come, the ground will be healthy. Furthermore, the water is pure and free of unnatural chemicals, curtailing problems like nitrogen leaching. This is both great for the commodities it is used on, but also great for whomever is downstream. And finally, the move toward a biological approach means there is less need for the transport of synthetic ingredients or products. Free-range cattle, for example, often eat indigenous grasses, exercise, and fertilize all on their own accord. They indeed support a healthy ecosystem.

Reason 2. Protecting our Health

GMOs, pesticides, and rBGH were too hastily shuffled into our food line and national food mantra. The science behind these is groundbreaking, yes, but ill-researched and not properly regulated – which is partially because of the corporate stranglehold on regulatory agencies and politicians. Going organic is the only way to be sure that what goes in your body is what nature intended. Chronic illnesses have skyrocketed since these ‘advancements’ and the children of today are stuck in the middle, most not even knowing of the potentially deadly realities around them.

Reason 3. Developing Cultural Significance

Going organic can also have some culturally beneficial aspects to it as well. Being healthy and supporting the environment is important, but if you can create a movement and cultural cornerstone out of it, organic life has the possibility of changing the entire world. The United States is tremendously powerful, especially in pop culture. Let’s harness that power and push for a practice that has virtuous substance.

Reason 4. Making Ethical and Moral Decisions

Ethics and morality, then, are a part of organic life too. The earlier example of free-range cattle captures the essence of this very idea. Factor farm animals are tortured, abused, and poisoned with food they shouldn’t be eating and chemical they shouldn’t be injected with. This implicates a high level of wrong doing. Going organic means going ethically and morally into the world of food and environmental awareness.

Reason 5. Supporting Natural Science

Next, an organic lifestyle echoes the call for a strong natural science, in contrast to a ‘synthetic’ one. While all science could be deemed unnatural, the important difference here is that organic farmers use biological control that occurs naturally. We simply change the occurrence of this control. In our point of view, its better to speed up nature than invade it. The method of mono-cropping and the use of unnatural fertilizer cost billions of dollars per year and destroys the soil; on the other hand, green manure and naturally created fertilizer reinvigorates the soil.

Reason 6. Supporting Local Farmers and the People’s Interests

With an organic practice also comes a support for the local farmers who grow organically. Isn’t it better to support your local farmer than Monsanto? While companies like Monsanto do provide a brilliant service – generating a ton of food for a ton of people – they operate in a poor fashion, making them a poor choice. Instead, support the ethical farmers of America. These are the people with the people’s interest in mind.

Reason 7. Creating A Sense of Community

Through any kind of movement, a sense of fellowship and community is created. In this case, it is a community that shares all the values already talked about. While I would like to avoid talking like a demagogue, there is something inherently “right” about making ethical decisions and supporting each other, our health, and our environment. When we come together as a group, we are able to do amazing things.

Reason 8. Eating Better Tasting and Fulfilling Foods

How does that have bearing on the future? Perhaps, it makes a sense of standard. After a meal, we should feel satisfied and content, not bloated and sick to our stomachs. For anyone who has eaten a “meal” from McDonalds or Taco Bell, you know that afterward you feel tired, uncomfortable, and somewhat aggravated. That’s because the food you just ate, for lack of a better term, sucked.

Reason 9. Supporting Sustainable Methods and Mindset

Going organic also means you’re supporting the same principles discussed thus far. It symbolizes that you wish to have a sustainable world in the future, and that we have no more an exclusive right to earth than our grandchildren. There is a quote that goes something like “You must live through the hell you create.” Unfortunately, in this case, it would be more accurate to say “Your grandchildren must live through the hell you create.” However, by supporting environmentally wise farming choices and ethical decision-making, you can make sure the mindset and effects are positive.

Reason 10. Securing agriculture and the environment for the future

Living organically, then, has a positive place for the future. Preserving the natural world and avoiding big factory farms that use GMOs, pesticides, and tons of resources enables a healthy, more habitable world when we are gone. The movement, of course, must grow, and organic practices should become the norm rather than the exception in order to make an assured difference. But it all starts with a few steps, which we are all taking now.

33 Comments

There are currently 33 Comments on 10 Reasons To Go Organic. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. If you have Netflix, watch Food Inc… you will be amazed to see how the family farm has been destroyed and industrial farming is ruining our local economies.
    Natural farming and smaller processing plants are needed and should be instituted.
    Make these mega farms and processing plants illegal.

    • I did watch it. Some if it I had to fast forward through because I couldn’t bare to watch the abuse of the animals. It was so horrible. Another good movie to watch is called “Food Matters.” It’s also eye opening as well.

      • you big baby. probably no problem watching people get slaughtered but hey, cow takes a bullet to the head and you’re all huffy puffy.

    • I started and was so disgusted I had to stop, I honestly and trying to bring myself to finish it, i know it will be for the best.

  2. 11. Your kids! Teaching your kids where food really comes from, how to grow it, how to harvest the seeds for next year’s plants, how to preserve it in healthy ways that do not include chemicals… all this allows them to become self-sufficient when it comes to their food!

    Great article!!

    • This is not only an opportunity but I also believe that it is a responsibility. It is a holistic component to ensuring the wholeness of being, to incorporate the life cycle. There are plenty of organizations around the world devoted to teaching through shared experience in sustainable living and organic farming. There are work exchange programs that promote community-based knowledge which are great to have your families involved in. World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming (WWOOF) is a way to find farms in your area, to bring your families to these farms, and to tend to the Earth, together.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb7oeyL2aoQ&feature=channel_video_title
      I love this program and I would love to see it become a larger part of communities. It’s a great way to be a student and a teacher alongside of your children. Water the seeds………..!

  3. Wow, what a great list. I always choose organic, mainly for health and environment, especially for the top 12 “dirtiest” conventionally grown fruits and vegetables identified by the Environmental Working Group. It’s a myth to think that we need intensive agriculture and loads of pesticides to sustain worldwide population. By reducing meat consumption in North America, we could free up some valuable space to grow food for humans instead of food for cattle. Not to mention that it’s far less polluting.

    Great post, thanks!

  4. This is an excellent post! We’ve chosen to share it with our Facebook friends today. Please feel free to have a look. (http://www.facebook.com/RealGoods) Thank you!

  5. I love this. I think this applies not only to food, but also to your personal care. All of these are reason I don’t think buying all natural, but non-organic skin care is enough. I choose to buy organic personal care, too. It’s not just about eliminating synthetic chemicals.

  6. Also, organic is important because of the micronutrients. Our soils are so depleated of nutrients that our food is also. Organic farming restores the micronutrients to our soil, and our food.

  7. So true! people don’t often realise the impact that going organic actually has. It has way more reprocussions than the mere ‘Feel Good Factor’. and it extends beyond food – to daily habits and simple actions. Even tee shirts. Did you know a single tee shirt can take up to a third of a pound of pesticide/insecticide to produce? I was so shocked by this fact I started my own company, STOC(.com.au). With cotton products being more and more prominent on the market, and increasingly affordable (or tees, for example, start at $25), there is no more excuse for not going organic….

  8. Reason #12- All the animals/creatures who are also part of our world. If YOU don’t look out for them, who will? It’s not as if they can make a choice for you to spray Roundup or any other nasties. Please consider we’re all in this together.

  9. It’s quite simple. It’s how the earth was meant to be.

    • Dag nabbit good stuff you whpipernasppres!

  10. but organic farms can and do use pesticides. so it’s hard for me now to see why I buy organic besides for staying away from GMO’s.

    • Excellent question, Jon, and it is one we are going to devote a long answer to. It’s true: Organic farming does indeed use pesticides. As stated, “Here, farmers avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, as well as genetically modified seeds.” Farmers do, though, use organic pesticides.

      So what’s the justification? – there are a number I’ll touch on briefly.

      First, synthetic pesticides are seen (and documented) as much more volatile. Many contain highly chlorinated compounds for killing insects on contact – while this is effective, the chemicals often “stick” to what they’re applied to, killing more than just the “pests” of a farm. This is tied to the second issue: synthetic pesticides have an enormously long half-life. Though it is not in use anymore, DDT’s half life spanned 150 years. This adds to their persistence and mobility in soil, water, and food. Finally, synthetic pesticides have faced great trouble in remaining vigilant on insects. The result is a combining of chemicals and harsher methods to fight off pests.

      Organic pesticides, on the other hand, come with a number of benefits. First, organic pesticides rely on materials from animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals – not synthetic chemicals. This sometimes requires a second round of application, but as we’ll soon see, that doesn’t mean more pesticides in our food and soil (plus, these don’t kill all the other insects). Second, organic pesticides have a extremely short half life – decay is usually the first order of things. This reduces persistence and mobility in soil, water, and food, due to weak bases (a good thing). Finally, organic pesticides prove time and time again to be effective. One of the best pesticide controls in organic farming is the release for other, friendly pests – like the ladybug, a natural pesticide.

      All in all, while it may be ideal to have no pesticides, organic pesticides prove to be less threatening to the health of the people, planet, and food.

      For some reading on organic pesticides (or biopesticides), check out the EPA’s information: http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/tbio.html

      And keep an eye out for an expanded article on this topic!

  11. awesome info thx for all u do. learning sooo much

  12. Great information but I’m conflicted by some things:

    1. “Going organic” sounds like buzz word, like “green.” Lifestyle choices are incremental and it’s not easy to change eating habits over night.

    2.. And what exactly does “sustainable” mean in this context: “Free-range cattle, for example, eat healthy grass, exercise, and fertilize all on their own accord?” If we continue to eat meat and dairy products in any form (eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt), we still harm the life of the animal. No criticism of organic farmers, but it’s the consumers who make these choices.

    3. I agree with many of your thoughts – I’m with you on organics and healthier living. BUT I suggest that we look at the bigger picture. Sustainable is not just how animals live and are processed for food. It’s also about the type of food we eat. A plant-based diet is another option that integrates no harm to water, soil, air, AND animals.

    Thanks for listening.

    Pete

    • Hey Pete,

      Thanks for your comments. Regarding your concerns, maybe these notes will help smooth them over.

      1. “Going organic” certainly does sound like a buzz word, but it’s important to note that it isn’t as ambiguous as “green.” Organic farming, and the lifestyle associated with organic eating habits, has a much clear meaning than green alone. This practice includes specific farming practices and purchasing habits, which often can be confirmed through a certification process. So while it does sound very buzzy, I’m weary of comparing it to green in all ways.

      2. There are many arguments that can be made about agriculture. We should remember, though, that there has never been a purely vegan society in history before today. Even vegetarian societies like those found in India are lacto-vegetarian (include dairies) and many subsets of monks consume eggs for complete nutrition. That being said, if we are going to consume animal products then, the philosophy of sustainability found in organic farming of plants should also apply to animals. We should opt out of starkly unnatural conditions for cattle, for example, and instead offer them open ranges with healthy, natural based diets. The subject of GMO feed is a great counter example to this. Under this philosophy, we can find a more sustainable industry for livestock.

      3. Finally, I should mention that this article is meant to represent that larger picture. It is about btoh farming produce and cultivating livestock. And a plant-based diet can indeed harm the water, soil, and living beings around it – just look at the exacerbated hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico due to artificial fertilizer use in the Midwest. Or look to the issue of decreasing biodiversity because of monocropping. Regardless, I think we’re on the same page that this is what must be avoided – we should all make incremental changes and really consider where our food is coming from and how it is being cultivated there.

      Thanks for your comment! I hope these answers help!

      • Thanks for your reply, Jesse.

        Yes, we are on the same page. There are not simple, direct, “one size fits all” answers here.

        I support as little human damage to the earth as possible, to animals and ourselves.

        Thanks for these discussion.

        Pete

  13. I love your articles and am so glad I found organic soul! Keep up the great work!
    PS My only suggestion is to proofread more thoroghly for errors… sorry -I’m an English teacher:)

    • Oh the irony, it’s thoroughly :) .

  14. Great stuff here … I’m actually vegan and trying out some organic vegan raw … once you start on that path, everything else seems too heavy.

  15. A correction on the origins of the Butterfly Effect. Even Edward Lorenz has admitted that it stems from the Ray Bradbury short story, “The Sound of Thunder.” Read the story (buy a book of Ray’s, though you can find the story online) and you’ll understand the power of that image. Lorenz discussed this with Bradbury and thanked him for the inspiration. Please give the originating writer credit where it’s due. Other than that, great article.

    • Thank you, Auntie Nuke! We’ll make the correction right away!

  16. [...] said it before. We’re saying it again. Going organic makes a difference. Here’s how. I’d like to draw attention to the concept of the “Butterfly Effect.” Developed by American [...]

  17. Reason #11: Then you get to be a self-righteous boob to all your friends and neighbors. And don’t forget – acting, thinking, and talking like the head-up-your-ass Luddite that you’ve now become. And last, but certainly not least, spending more money on food then you should, or can, with some ill-perceived notion that you’re automatically going to get “healthy”. What a load of bullshit this article is!

    • Well, Kirk, it appears one can be a self-righteous boob without eating organic. You likely haven’t spent time researching the very real problems of industrial chemical farming. Speak to some farmers, read their stories. They understand it more than anyone, and if modern industrial farming was perfect, I doubt they would rally against it. Keep in mind: the price difference between chemical farming and organic farming exists because of subsidies in the farm bill. And no, no one thinks you’ll automatically get healthy or the world will be showered with daisies. Choosing healthy foods is just a single step in the right direction.

      PS. Prior to chemical farming, we used to just call “organic” food by what it is: food.

    • Please see my post.

      Best wishes.

      Adam.

  18. glad to get in touch

  19. This is a very interesting article and I must first give credit to Jesse for being a very talented and creative writer. The specifics have been carefully outlined and addressed. It has received quite a bit of attention for Jesse and “Organic Soul”

    I do however question the motivation for writing this article and the intent. Has Jesse written this article for noble, moral, and ethical values and beliefs or has it been posted for monetary gain and self promotion to be as Kirk Farra stated “a self-righteous boob”

    I do not know Jesse but I would have to bet on the fact that he does not live as a righteous monk, work daily on a farm or migrate as an au natural wandering vagabond. This seems to be a person who is in it for the buck employed by the persons of this web page and whoever will give him the greatest exposure for his writing talent. There IS money in it! Anyone can claim to be labeled or branded for our stated beliefs regardless of educational qualifications, race, sex, etc. It does appear that Jesse has branded himself in just this manner. The real question is why? Is it all for the betterment of mankind? That is a noble idea and I personally try to side with the “IDEA” that we are all inherently good and should care for one another. But I do not subscribe to the projected idea that Jesse is a leading steward of earth.

    That being said the “organic community” or “organic following” if you will is not defined. There are so many areas with NO CLEAR GOALS appearing as a shell game or a where’s Waldo book looking for the next smoking gun issue to resolve or silver bullet problem, to be addressed. If we just fix this then etc. etc. Meanwhile back at the farm Jesse and a whole host of publishers, marketers and retailers are doing quite well from the revenue they have collected in promotional product sales and publications. After the propaganda, campaigns, rallies, and organizations the “Organic poster child problems” STILL exist and ALWAYS will.

    I personally like many things about organics and if given the choice will buy organic products and do appreciate the “IDEAS” associated with “organics” but let’s see this industry for what it is “A BUSINESS” the people involved in it are here for MONEY and NOT for your betterment and NOT to be organic caped crusaders saving the world.

    I am FAR from perfect I have my faults and I am sure I will be attacked for calling it like I see it. Just one final thought. Jesse and his publishers as well as “Organic Soul” are thanking me for generating greater customer traffic by bringing attention to themselves.

    Take care all. Use your heads and simply be yourselves and be happy whether you choose organics or not.

    You’re welcome Organic Soul.

    This one is free. If you would like me to respond to further comments I will require the same compensation that Jesse is getting.

    • Hey Adam,

      Thanks for your comment. To be clear, I was paid nothing to write this.

      No, literally, I was paid $0.

      I wrote this piece because, perhaps to your surprise, I am passionate about this subject and feel that more people need to know about it. Organic Soul is a personal project of mine (as well as its founder, Jameson Morris). I function as the “Editor” but that’s really just a title to make this fresh-out-of-college-23-year-old feel accomplished. Actually, we don’t run the site to make money, but to create a source of information. I have a day job to pay my bills, and I try to find the time to write, think, and push organic as much as I can. The farm of marketers, publishers, and people rolling freshly printed green, organic cash sounds like a place we’d all like to be, but alas, I am not there.

      True: I am not a righteous monk. I do, however, do my best to eat organic; I do my best to drive only a little; I do my best to use less and give more back to the Earth. While your choice to “not subscribe to the projected idea that Jesse is a leading steward of earth” is your own to make, I’d encourage you to not always choose the pessimistic belief. Ego would compel me to argue I am indeed a leader, but reality would humble me to a much smaller frame of mind. I am only part of a larger community that, for all intents and purposes, can find its own direction without any use of little old me.

      I’ll leave you with a final thought: capitalism and business are not bad. It is how we choose to operate within these systems that defines the quality. I personally wish organic was as big as conventional or “chemical” farming. Who cares if anyone profits from this? I don’t. I’d be more enamored with the fact that our planet is being treated at least marginally* better than it is being treated now. I’ll choose a lesser capitalistic evil any day if it means healthier, happier people.

      PS. If you’d ever like to write for us, feel free to email me (jesse@organicsoul.com). We can’t pay much, if at all, but I bet people would enjoy reading your thoughts, and I bet seeing the reaction and excitement of others would be compensation enough. It has been for me for nearly 3 years :)

  20. This Williams guy has it right on the mark. Well said!!!

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