You may have heard people say buying organic food is better. But, have you wondered why they’re better, who they benefit, and if the statement is even true?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers organic food to meet the following definition, “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”
The management practices mentioned in the definition include everything from how to treat the farm’s animals, to how to conserve the farm’s resources. The animals need to move freely outside and not be fed food with growth hormones or animal byproducts. Many pesticides are also banned from use on farms which produce certified organic food. The farmers should use cover crops (crops grown during breaks in producing normal crops, with the purpose of improving the soil quality and preventing weeds from growing) and rotate their crops regularly, to maintain the soil’s quality. Using renewable resources and conservation methods for soil, water, and other valuable resources should be practiced as often as possible.
Organic products can be found everywhere from Wegmans to local farmers’ markets. Here in Rochester, we’re lucky to have access to have the winner of the America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market contest, City of Rochester Public Market (Rochester, NY). It’s open year round on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with some extra days scattered around the holidays. At Rochester’s farmers’ market, you can purchase locally produced, organic goods, such as poultry, eggs, fruit, flowers, and more. What are you waiting for?