Step 11 – Eat organically
Organic food is usually more expensive but it has been proven that it is healthier. In the long run good health is more important. When we look at the cost of poor health and the pain and money it costs us, it makes sense to eat organically. The costs of treatment for many of our ills have become staggering. We pour research money into cures and have built up a whole industry to deal with our health problems. In contrast we have spent relatively little money on prevention. If we can develop habits that make us a healthy country, we will not have to cure so many ills. When we don’t eat organic, we support an agricultural system that is producing inferior food for us to eat and is contributing to global warming. The sensible response is to come up with a life style that supports good health. We need to concentrate more of our research resources on preventing illness. We know growing and eating healthy foods is good for our health.
Since the widespread adoption of chemical fertilizers in the 1950s, the nutritional quality of produce in America has declined substantially, according to figures gathered by the USDA, which has tracked the nutrient content of various crops since then. There should be no question that eating organic food is much healthier. As someone who has spent his lifetime growing plants and working with the soil I have witnessed that in an organic soil plants are stronger and healthier. I know that in an organic soil we are able to extract a great deal more nutrients from the soil that are absorbed by the roots of the plant. This makes organic vegetables more nutritious and eating organic food much healthier.
We also know that most of our food is not produced organically but through the application of chemical fertilizers and chemical programs. Industrial chemical farming is adding to global warming while organic farming is reducing global warming. Industrial farming is deeply embedded into Land Grant University recommendations of how to grow food. Mechanization is a strong recommendation of how to reduce labor costs. Investing into expensive machinery allows corporate giants to control Agriculture and farm large tracts of land with very few people. This has forced the small farmers to move to other professions to make a living. Even though University educated farmers are depleting our soils, they don’t know any better because this is the way they have been taught. It is going to be difficult to get them to change. The only way we can influence them to change their growing methods and our Land Grant Universities to change their teaching methods and recommendations is to eat organically and create a demand for organic food.
I think the healthiest way to eat is to grow your own food. You can pick and harvest your vegetables when they have the greatest nutrient value. The three basic ingredients that you need to grow your own food are soil, sun and water. You can amend your existing soil with a large mixture of organic amendments to make it the most nutritious soil to grow your vegetable crops in. You can build raised beds to increase aeration in your soil and enhance yields. You can grow varieties that you would not readily find in your organic farmers market. I had a customer who would come every Saturday morning to pick up organic vegetable starts. The whole family was totally into growing organic vegetables. The father told me his children would only eat the organic vegetables they harvested from their garden. They did not like the taste of other vegetables.
The second healthiest way to eat organically is to buy your organic food from a local farmer. This concept has allowed a lot of local entrepreneurs get into the farming business. Local farms are springing up all over the country. They are producing superior organic food whose nutritional value is much greater than what you can buy in the super market. When organic food is shipped in from other countries, the length of time it takes to reach your supermarket tremendously reduces its nutrient value.
The next best thing is to buy locally grown organic food from farmers markets or your market place. This will drive a demand for organic food and will get more farmers to switch their operation to an organic approach.
By eating organically we are getting people to grow organically. When we grow organically, we are pulling CO2 out of the air. When we grow chemically, we are adding CO2 to the air. Farmers are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution and global warming. If they change their ways from a chemical approach to an organic approach they can become one of the greatest contributors to reverse global warming by extracting CO2 out of the air. If they change their operation to an organic approach in place of a chemical approach they will save their soils and develop a sustainable system where they can grow healthy food year after year. It is a win, win situation for them. It is important to define the problem in order to understand the problem and to find a solution.
Although most of the emphasis in Agriculture must be directed on growing healthy food we need to also to put a great deal of emphasis on growing good air. Luckily the two go hand in hand. Greenhouse gases are causing global warming. Global warming will lead to a lot of pain and destruction in the near term and extinction in the long term. Once we mess with nature we are creating havoc to our whole natural system. Not only do we need to eliminate or reduce the pollutants that we release into our air but we need to extract them out of our air. Agriculture can play a role in this by growing crops organically and we can play a role in this by eating organically and causing a demand for organic grown food. The key to reducing global warming is in the soil and the plants we grow to extract carbon dioxide from the air.
Luther Burbank an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agriculture science firmly believed that all agricultural learning should begin with a study of nature. In our own backyard garden we can learn more from nature by working the soil than we can learn from books. When our hands feel the soil and work the earth and we witness the miracles that spring from it, we will begin to understand nature. A green thumb is a thumb of knowledge and experience. One learns by doing. Once we learn to respect nature and work with her we will make good decisions.
I eat organically whenever I can. To me it tastes better and my body feels better. Eating healthy makes me feel that I will be healthier and I will live a longer life. Eat organic and save your life and the life of our earth.
My own theory about growing nutritional organic food has been my lifelong dedication to growing superior plants for my customers. I gravitated from a chemical to an organic approach. I witnessed the fantastic difference in vegetative quality, vigor and health of the plants I grew when I switched my operation over to an organic approach. I am convinced when your soil is filled with a large mixture of organic products, the nutrient value is going to be better than those that are grown with chemicals. The greater the mix the greater the nutrient value has always been my believe. In my book “12 Steps to Natural Gardening” my formula for the preparation of a new planting bed for a vegetable garden has my customers in their initial bed preparation incorporating a large mixture of organic products. This mixture has not only a large mixture of nutrient value that can be absorbed by the plant but it develops a very strong food web. This makes plants stronger and healthier and there is no question in my mind a strong healthier plant is more nutritious. I am a greenhouse grower who has witnessed how more vibrant, how much larger a flower is when it is grown in a large mixture of organic amendments. My customers who have built raised beds and added my mixture to it tell me they grow the most delicious vegetables.
When we purchase organic vegetables, there are huge differences in the value of the product. We may not completely understand what we are buying when we buy organic vegetables. Organic vegetables are all labeled the same at the supermarket but they tremendously vary. There is imported organic, farm grown organic, local grown organic and home grown organic. The nutritional value of each of these varies as does the preparation of the soil that they are grown in. I told you about the farmer who grew his vegetables in compost rows and produced the best vegetables he had ever grown. The strength of any plant is in the soil it is grown in and the diversity of organic products added to it. Our colleges continue to work out better formulations of chemical fertilizers to grow our crops when they should be working out the greater nutritional value of crops grown by the differing mixtures of organic amendments added to the soil. So there is organic and then there is organic. We need to be able to determine the nutrient value so we can make a proper choice. What I have learned I have learned from nature and observation.
Eat locally grown organic food and become a healthier person and get more local farmers to grow local organic food so we live a healthier life. This will also support healthier air to breath. If we all eat organically, we will be healthier and we will breath in clean air. Clean air allows heat to rise and not be trapped. Global warming occurs when heat is trapped. CO2 traps heat and causes global warming.