Organic Foods and its Benefits

Organic food has become very popular. But navigating the maze of organic food labels, benefits, and claims can be confusing. Here are certain facts about basics and benefits of organic food.

What does “organic” mean?

The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. While the regulations vary from
country to country, in the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered
genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.

Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.

 

 

Organic vs. Non-Organic

Organic produce:

Conventionally-grown produce:

Grown with natural fertilizers (manure, compost). Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling). Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides.
Pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and naturally-derived pesticides. Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides

Organic meat, dairy, eggs:

Conventionally-raised meat, dairy, eggs

Livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed. Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth, as well as non-organic, GMO feed.
Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet. Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
Livestock must have access to the outdoors. Livestock may or may not have access to the outdoors.

 

Benefits

How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic produce.

  • Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.
  • Organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.
  • Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.
  • Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.
  • Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.
  • Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide

 

Reference: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm

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The range of highly delicious fruits, vegetables and meats, modern organic products can, and do, include: Baby food; Wine made from organic grapes; Beer; Yoghurt; Cakes; Pastries; Bread; Breakfast cereals; Biscuits; Cold meats; Fruit juices; Tinned fruits and vegetables...
Read More: Organic Foods and its Benefits

Organic farming and its need

What is organic farming?

Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient time. It is a method of cultivation which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive organic farmingand  in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco-friendly pollution free environment.

As per the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team – “organic agriculture is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”.

FAO suggested that “Organic agriculture is a unique production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity, and this is accomplished by using on-farm agronomic, biological and mechanical methods in exclusion of all synthetic off-farm inputs”.

Need for organic farming 

With the increase in population, our compulsion would be not only to stabilize agricultural production but to increase it further in a sustainable manner. The scientists have realized that the ‘Green Revolution’ with high input use has reached a plateau and is now sustained with diminishing return of falling dividends. Thus, a natural balance needs to be maintained at all cost for the existence of life and property. The obvious choice for that would be more relevant in the present era when these agrochemicals which are produced from fossil fuel and are not renewable and are diminishing in availability. It may also cost heavily on our foreign exchange in future.

The key characteristics of organic farming include

  • Protecting the long-term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention
  • Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro-organisms
  • Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures
  • Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention
  • The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs, and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing
  • Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats

 

 

 

Reference http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm/orgfarm_introduction.html

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What is organic farming? Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient time. It is a method of cultivation which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and  in good health by use...
Read More: Organic farming and its need