Why Organic Food ?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) organic agriculture can be defined as a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems.
This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfil any specific function within the system. (WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1999) Organic food is a result of a traditional form of agriculture which avoids the usage of several man-made (artificial) herbicides, insecticides and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). There is a lot of debate over the benefits of organic food over food produced through conventional means.
Several direct personal benefits of organic food and organic farming as a whole, include:
In 2009, a report published by Food Standard Agency of the United Kingdom (UK) summarised the results of related studies over the past 50 years. It concluded that even though no significant health benefits could be directly associated with the consumption of organic food, organic foods did contain more vitamins, minerals and omega-3s (Dangour,2009). Organic fruits and vegetables showed to have higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants with lower amounts of heavy metals and pesticide residues (Dangour, 2009). Besides from this, feeding trials with animals have consistently demonstrated improved health in animals which were fed food which was organically produced as compared to ones which were fed non-organically produced food (Worthington, 1998).
Aside from this, various studies have uncovered other benefits including improved growth rates (Edelmuller,1984), reproductive health (Aehnelt & Hahnn, 1978), general health (Staiger, 1988) , and recovery from illness (Plochberger, 1989) in animals which were fed organically produced feed.
Even though similar controlled experients are difficult to conduct on humans, clinical experience and recorded observations have pointed towards similar benefits in recovery from illness (Plaskett, 1999) and general health (Daldy, 1940) from the consumption of organically produced food. Plants cultivated organically produce more phytochemicals (vitamins and anti-oxidants) in the absence of artificial fertilizers and pesticides which improves their resistance to bugs and weeds.
An added benefit of consuming organic food is its improved taste. According to a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the higher antioxidant levels in organic produce might actually enhance its