Buying organic is a delicious way to bring healthy eating and support for the environment into your kitchen. The key principle behind organic food is healthy soil. By acting as responsible stewards of their land, organic farmers create a cycle of healthy soil, growing healthy food for healthier people. (We think it tastes better, too.)
Conventional farming practices extract a higher cost from our environment through contamination caused by pesticides polluting our air, soil and water. Fertilizers can weaken the soil with synthetic nutrients. Herbicides and pesticides harm more than the targeted pests, as these harsh chemicals run off into the soil and water supply. Farmers and farm workers who apply these chemical adjuncts could also risk their own long-term health. Efforts to clean up these areas often come at a hidden cost to taxpayers. The loss of natural habitats for beneficial insects and wildlife is inestimable. Many pesticides can penetrate the peel, and others are absorbed in the plant’s roots. Washing and peeling may only remove up to 25% of pesticide residues
For more information on the organic difference, visit http://www.organicvalley.coop/why-organic/overview/
The Wisconsin Dept of Agriculture guide to organic food is here.
If you’re making the switch to organic foods, first explore the foods you eat most often while considering your budget and lifestyle. Do you eat fresh fruit in the morning? Try in-season organic fruit for breakfast. Do you drink coffee? Try organic varieties. Eat a lot of salads for lunch? Give the organic lettuces and greens a go. We think that you’ll taste the difference and realize how easy it is to make the switch. While prices of organic foods might seem a little higher to some shoppers, we support paying a premium price in the interest of giving organic farmers a fair return on their investment.
Organic certification is an expense to farmers that benefits consumers’ right to know how their food was grown. We encourage shoppers to “go organic” in support of such ecologically minded farmers (and so that you can continue to enjoy the great flavor of organic foods).
What does Certified Organic mean?
All foods labeled and sold as “organic” must be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) accredited independent certifying agencies.
Organic farming and certified products are defined by the USDA Organic Foods Production
Act as follows:
Three years with no application of prohibited materials (no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or GMOs) prior to certification.
No use of prohibited substances while certified; no sewage sludge; no irradiation.
Proactive soil building, conservation, manure management, and crop rotation systems.
Egg-laying chickens must have access to the outdoors, no cages, and a vegetarian diet.
Cattle must derive 30 percent of their feed from pasture.
No antibiotics or hormones used.
100 percent organic feed.
Organic management from birth or hatching.
No commingling or contamination of organic products during processing, and mandatory recordkeeping for all operations.