According to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, “Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.” It is therefore a type of agriculture that works with nature rather than against it. The methods used in organic farming are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in largely on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). IFOAM is an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972.
The main goals of organic farming are too increase long-term soil fertility; control pests and diseases without harming the environment; ensure that water stays clean and safe; use resources which the farmer already has, so the farmer needs less money to buy farm inputs; and produce nutritious food, feed for animals and high quality crops to sell at a good price. As a result, organic farming has become increasingly popular because of its many benefits. For example, organic food is said to taste better than non-organic food, it promotes diversity; the food also has more nutritional benefits; and it limits the leaching of toxins into the soil as organic farms shy away from pesticides and herbicides.
There are several foods that are highly recommended as foods to be bought organic. Some examples are strawberries, beef, popcorn, milk, celery, coffee, peaches, potatoes, peppers, leafy greens and baby foods. The organic market is growing and as a result may food items we commonly buy can now be bought organic. While organic items do cost more, the long term benefits tend to outweigh these initial costs. However, there are some foods that you may not need to buy organic. For example, avocadoes, eggs, spices, bananas, pineapples, kiwis, mangoes, papayas, asparagus, broccoli and onions do not need to be organic when bought.
Written by: Sade Richardson
University of Rochester ’15
For more tips and tricks on how and when to buy organic, check out the following links: