Photo credit: Tanantha Couilliard

The number of organic consumers has increased. Whether it’s from better education or higher health-consciousness, it’s a good sign. Going organic is a new food trend that consumers should consider carrying on.

According to the website, www.organic.org, “organic” is defined as “produce and other ingredients grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.”

Well, that’s fine, but does it have to be so pricy? Going organic isn’t cheap. Often times, organic produce costs more than conventional produce. A few factors can help explain. First, organic farmers do not receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Second, the cost of environmental cleanups is added. Third, it requires more labor and intensive care. And lastly, the demand and supply system is the key to driving the cost. By those means, if demand is low, a cost of supply will be high. It’s an obstacle to have economies of scale in place for the organic side. Start with one person, the other will follow, and so on. It will soon drive costs down and force retailers to offer more organic food to meet our demand.

On the consumer end, there are several reasons and justifications behind pricey produce. These include nutrition, flavor, environment, ecology, mistreated animals, and future generations.

Nutrition and flavor: Organic food contains more nutrition, and has a better taste with true flavor free from chemicals. For instance, grass-fed beef has a sweeter and firmer taste than antibiotics and growth hormone beef. It’s a taste that nature offered to us. If you work in the corporate world, the term “grow organically” is often used. It refers to a true growth for the core, and pure growth.

Environment and ecology: Good soil conveys better water and air to living creatures including human beings. It’s forming a circle and that will lead to less pollution.

Mistreated animals: Growth hormones and byproducts are used to develop animals faster and to produce a larger volume of product for sale. It changes the animal’s physical structure. Some of the animals can adjust to the genetically-altered physical state while others cannot.

Future generations: Consumers have a right to create a valuable diet circle — a circle that doesn’t harm the environment, creatures, and people.

A practical tip to “go organic” is to gradually change your pantry list by considering the source of each product. Consider that you not only eat animal meat but also what they intake. If they are raised humanely and fed free of chemicals, nutrition is passed through the meat. Milk is also a good example – what cows eat will be passed through the milk. For ingredients that affect us indirectly, such as flour, you could leave it out until later when you’re ready to go entirely organic.

Is it worthwhile? Think of it as a return on investment (ROI). The return rate is high. You won’t see it now, but it will pay off in the long term with a good interest rate. You invest in your health, diet, family, and environment. Many good quality restaurants and chefs tend to use organic ingredients nowadays because they believe that it conveys a better quality of food.

We are what we eat. Let’s go organic!

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