About a decade ago, a new trend took the whole world by storm. People started obsessing over health and nutrition (which is a great thing of course), they began to ponder what corporations and big companies were taking them towards and were waking up to a whole new way of thinking. Suddenly, the word organic food was thrown around in mainstream media and everybody jumped onto the bandwagon.
So, what exactly is “Organic food”?
Simply put, organic food cannot be grown with the help of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge and ionizing radiation. Cattle, poultry, dairy etc reared for organic food consumption are similarly not treated with hormones, chemicals and unnatural antibiotics.
To be certified organic, farms have to go through strict checking and rules are different across various countries. There are government led organizations in almost all countries that are responsible for the certification of organic produce.
Coming to what organic means in India, this type of produce is simply what our grandparents and generations before them would eat every single day! Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers were introduced in the country much later than in our western counterparts. Also, the process of certification and checking is often times a very lengthy and expensive process. Small time farmers neither have the information or means to get their practice certified. And big corporations selling this so called “organic food” may very well be duping you extremely easily by just labelling their food organic without any noteworthy implementations.
So should you really go organic?
Another recent study claims that all these extra health benefits of going the organic route is only healthy for the bank balance of the company selling you it. Studies show that a normally grown vegetable or fruit is not less healthy than an organically grown piece of produce. The health benefits are next to negligible especially because regulations surrounding organic foods are kind of blurry.
An organic farm next to normal commercial farm will in the course of time; share soil, nutrients, water and other environmental stimuli. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides may very easily penetrate into a neighbouring organic farm. Even genetically modified produce is impossible to discern nowadays!
The only huge and seriously great positive impact of organic farming is the ecological benefit. Soil structure, water retention and overall environmental health is vastly improved due to organic farming practices. It helps in combating soil erosion, it helps in water conservation, it improves animal wellbeing and also reduces carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
So what are the ways to find authentic and cost effective organic food?
Organic food is all around you, it just needs to be sourced out.
Instead of maybe looking for labels and certifications, chat with local farmers and producers on their practices. Buying fresh local produce helps the environment, small business owners and the economy. Big corporations should be avoided – try taking a stroll in your local ‘mandi’ instead of filling up a cart at a supermarket. Even if the food isn’t organically produced, you will definitely be helping the environment and individuals with their economy.
Another great way to have organic produce is to grow your own food! It is pretty easy to set up terrace gardens and vegetable patches; and this can even be done in dense metropolitan cities.
If you do decide to use certified products, a little research and cross questioning may help you find the real stuff.
Also, support local merchants selling organic instead of big corporations. This will vastly help bring the prices down.
Ultimately, going organic or not is a personal choice; but we truly advise you do your research before you get into anything. All the best! Let us know in the comments below on what your thoughts are about going organic.
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