Yes, we work in organic food delivery. So yes, every so often someone will pipe up to say that organic food isn’t worth the trouble. They’ll argue we need to face that with a growing population, we need to rely on high density farming, GMO and pesticides to survive. Or that organic food is downright mythical, like a unicorn.
But what is the truth behind organic food and why should we as consumers try to do our best to support organic?
Here are some of the most ignored reasons why organic food is a good idea (and not just because we work in organic food delivery!)
Organic farming versus the monoculture
Back in the days before mass food production, farmers engaged in things like companion planting and crop rotation. What companion planting provides is a natural way to avoid some pests and to also bolster the food as it grows.
Long before organic food delivery or looking after the environment received so much attention, plants and animals work together in a farming environment. And understanding this process helps highlight why mixed farming is better for our food and the environment.
Crop rotation is one of the best ways to keep a farm and the soil healthy. Put simply, crop rotation is about giving back the soil what some crops take out by growing complementary crops. A farmer can grow a crop that strips the ground of nutrients. They then grow another crop of another kind in the same soil that helps restore those nutrients to the soil. Or they can plant certain crops together to work in a symbiotic relationship to protect against insects and disease.
It’s about taking care of the land by understanding the impact of crops on the soil. And using nature's native talents to ward against insects and disease.
Monocultures encourage farmers to pick a speciality and stick to it. While this might work on a small scale, the scale of it required in commercial farming invites more problems than benefits.
Over time, monoculture farming can rob plants of vital minerals and vitamins. It can also strip moisture from the soil that is harder and harder replenish. This can even lead to soil erosion.
By removing natural ways to keep bugs and pests at bay, you invite more issues. That's why monoculture farmers often need to use an increasingly higher level of pesticides and herbicides.
Research has also found that monocultures lead to a drop in bird and animal life within the wider ecosystem. While we may not want animals and birds ruining crops in great numbers, we should be mindful of too many adverse affects on the balance found in nature.
Monocultures encourage poor judgement
Monocultures promote productivity and profitability. It’s a catch-cry from the supermarkets who try to get you to believe that organic food delivery systems are somehow inferior.
But is this always the case?
David Blume is a well known American authority in permaculture and alternative fuel sources. He’s an ecology graduate with an extensive career. He's worked with everyone from environmental organisations through to Ford as an advisor on alternative fuels.
With almost 30 years experience teaching people how to grow food, David Blume does not believe monocultures are the way of the future.
In fact, Blume believes that food production volume has been reduced by the monopoly of big multi-national food companies that advocate monoculture farming. That while they claim organic food delivery ideas won’t feed a growing population, the scale used to judge such claims is erroneous.
But it’s not just a question of scale where monoculture may be faulty.
Monocultures invite potentially harmful situations
Some companies have a history with releasing monoculture products that have hurt food production. Synthetic growth hormones were used in the United States on cows. The aim was to increase milk production. rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) lead to health issues in the cows. And rBGH was banned in 27 countries when it was linked to cancer in humans.
The scary Mad Cow outbreak in the UK and Europe was traced to grinding down cows to feed to other cows, a natural herbivore. Those infected cows were then slaughtered and sold as meat, only to infect humans with Mad Cow.
Australia has a low risk of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). We have stringent controls on how meat is processed in Australia. One of which includes not feeding dead livestock to live animals.
Many people are sceptical about GMO and other practices though because of these sorts of situations. It’s because we’ve seen some fairly scary consequences when man has monkeyed with farming in the name of increasing profit.
Organic food delivery may include shortfalls and relying on seasonal produce. But it certainly doesn’t involve transferring life threatening conditions from one animal to another and then onto a human being.
You are what you eat
When a Swedish family who started eating organic food went global, it wasn’t because of recipes. It was because they had lowered the amount of pesticides in their bodies almost to zero. The family was your everyday kind of family. And they stopped buying the standard store-bought fare and switched to organic.
The family had their urine tested before switching to organic food delivery. It was to see if the standard chemicals used in monoculture and mass production farming would carry through into their systems. Within two weeks of them changing their diet, there were significant changes in their urine. The fungicides, insecticides and plant growth regulators that were in high doses within the family were almost gone.
The United States has long recognised an increased cancer risk in farm workers. The risk of leukaemia, soft tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as higher rates than average for cancers in the lip, brain, stomach, skin and prostate have been found .
In Australia, new research has started to determine if agricultural workers are in a higher risk group for some cancers. The research is also investigating a potential link between increased risks of developing Parkinson’s Disease when using pesticides .
This study has only just begun (indeed, they are in the recruitment for participant stages). But it does highlight the need for greater scrutiny when it comes to the things we buy to eat.
Organic food delivery is worth considering when looking at ways to minimise disease and illness risk.
Organic food myth busting
At Lettuce Deliver, we’re about informed consumers making great choices. That’s why we clearly label all our products with the ratings and certifications they have received. And we label them with town and state or country of origin.
When we started organic food delivery, we did so to bring the best produce, pantry and fridge items to you that matched their claims and were certified. And this will never change.
You’ll also note we haven’t gone down the route of making big claims about food beauty or magical properties. Our produce is quality controlled. But you will get the occasional bug bite or blemish. We’re not in this business to give you food that would grace the big Australian magazine covers. We’re looking to give you food that we know is grown ethically with your family in mind.
We provide a platform for farmers to keep them safe from some nasty chemicals while encouraging them to care for the land. We do this by selling their produce to you. And encouraging their involvement in organic certification practises.
And that’s why we believe organic is worth the trouble. How about you?
Want to discover organic food delivery services for yourself?
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Image by David di Veroli