Should You Buy Organic? (List25 Deathmatch)

It’s a wonder we’re able to get up every day and make adult decisions with all the contradicting information out there. GMO’s are bad; GMO’s are fine; eating eggs increases your cholesterol; eating eggs is good for you; buy only organic; organic food is overrated and overpriced. It’s enough to make any of us want to scream. Sadly, the “expert opinions” often contradict each other, too. One scientist says one thing and the next one says another. While we here at List25 don’t have any expert scientists on staff, we do have amazing researching capabilities. Today, Jason and Crystal sound off on whether or not you should buy organic. Welcome to this week’s Deathmatch: Should you buy organic?

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24

Yes: It's better for the environment

clean and dirty environmentSource: http://www.superlife.com/whybuyorganic/, http://www.foodwise.com.au/organic/

Organic farming isn’t just better for humans and animals, it’s also better for the environment.  Soil carbon levels and overall soil quality are higher, and it’s also worth mentioning that organic farming reduces the amount of chemical runoff in our coastal water ways and drinking water. – CC

23

No: It's not better for the environment

farm landSource: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

The amount of land used for agriculture has greatly upset the Earth’s ecosystem. Organic farms can’t meet the same level of production as conventional farms, meaning if organic farms grow, they’ll need a lot more land. This could mean farmers destroying even more ecological systems to farm which would be environmentally devastating. – JI

22

Yes: It can reduce your risk of cancer

cancer cell1Source: http://www.foodwise.com.au/organic/

Organic produce has 1/3 more cancer fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown produce. That may not sound like much, but when you’re aiming for a healthier lifestyle, the little things add up. – CC

21

Yes: It's better for animals

happy cowsSource: http://www.organicitsworthit.org/get/10-reasons-buy-organic-0

That “organic” sticker on your produce and meat takes more than you think to get. There are a lot of regulations and fees involved with being able to be “certified” organic (part of the reason it sometimes costs more). When it comes to organic livestock, those requirements include organic feed and time in open pasture, along with safer and cleaner environments. So whether you eat animals or not, we should all be able to agree that happy and humanely treated animals is something to strive for. – CC

20

Yes: It might not be as expensive as you think

empty pockets1Source: http://www.organicitsworthit.org/get/10-reasons-buy-organic-0

Remember how I mentioned that the USDA Certified Organic sticker was really pricy for famers to obtain? It’s part of the reason that when you hit up your local grocery store, you’ll find organic veggies for double or triple the conventionally grown price. However, while it’s still worth price checking seasonal veggies, you can also check out local farmers’ markets or CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). By shopping local, you not only support your community, you also get organic produce, meat, and eggs at a much more reasonable price. Many CSA’s will even drop off bags full of delicious in-season fruits and veggies right to your door for a monthly rate. Is it worth $5 for 1 tomato at the supermarket? No. Is it worth $150-$200 a month to get local fresh, organic produce delivered to your door every week? Yes. Is it a fun educational experience to take your kids to the local farmers market on Saturday? Absolutely. – CC

19

No: You're on a budget

savingsSource: http://www.mofga.org/Publications/The-Maine-Organic-Farmer-Gardener/Fall-2011/Price-Differences

Organic food is roughly double or triple the cost of conventional food and produce. Sometimes, for things like eggs and milk, that cost could be far higher. With so many other expenses, it’s nigh impossible to justify the cost of organic unless you’re making six figures and don’t know what to do with your money. – JI

18

Yes: It encourages mindfulness

mindfulness

I know this sounds super crunchy, and yes I may be ever-so-slightly hippy, but bear with me on this one.

Do you know where your food comes from? If your answer is, “The grocery store,” or “some warehouse somewhere,” chances are you aren’t really aware of how your food gets to your table. If you hit up a local farmers market or join a CSA, you might start to get more of a feel for what efforts are put into bringing you that delicious apple or nutritious spinach.

Additionally, by going out of your way to buy organic, you’re almost forced to become more mindful about what you put into your body. – CC

17

No: It encourages stress

stressed out

After blowing all your money on organic food that will expire in a couple of weeks, the stress will be very real. You’ll wonder, “Can I afford to buy more organic food? Can I afford to buy any other food at all this month?” Before long, when all the organic food as spoiled or been eaten, your stress levels will be through the roof. – JI

16

Yes: You can avoid nasty chemicals

chemicals in bottleSource: https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/a20453119/top-reasons-to-choose-organic-foods/

So here are some fun facts about the FDA and farming:

  • over 600 active chemicals are approved for agricultural use in the US
  • with the current application, it amounts to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person per year
  • 90% of these chemicals have not been tested for long-term adverse effects before being called “safe”
  • only 1% of food is tested for pesticide residue

“Safe” may not mean what you think it does. – CC

15

No: Conventional farming uses the same methods

farmingSource: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensavage/2016/03/19/why-i-dont-buy-organic-and-why-you-might-want-to-either/#7207e31869c3

A common, and powerful, myth about conventional farming is that it unleashes a wave of agent orange all over their produce. It’s just not true. Many conventional farms use the same tactics as organic farms, including using compost and fertilizer. In fact, when they use pesticides, they’re often non-toxic and scant. – JI

14

Yes: It supports small farmers

farmerSource: http://www.superlife.com/whybuyorganic/

Do you or any of your friends own their own small business? It’s not easy, and when your competition has more funding and government backing, it makes owning a small business all the more difficult. By buying most of your produce, meat, and eggs from a local farm, you can directly see that your money is going into supporting them and putting food on their table in return. – CC

13

No: It supports child labor and low-wage labor

Child_labor_in_AfricaSource: https://www.motherjones.com/food/2015/06/organic-farming-more-profitable-conventional/, https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/5-shocking-ways-child-labor-is-still-used-in-food-production/, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2016/12/organic-farming-doesnt-mean-fairer-labor/

First, many organic farms use a wide pool of low-wage, under-the-table labor from immigrants; immigrants that deserve a fair wage.  Second, by default, African farmers don’t use pesticides. In Europe, only 5% of their farms are actually organic. In America, it’s only 1%. Most organic food is imported from Africa which, news flash, doesn’t have labor laws protecting children. So, if you buy organic, you’re likely supporting a system that preys on the weak and helpless. – JI

12

Yes: In many cases, there is an actual taste difference

enjoying a melonSource: https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/a20453119/top-reasons-to-choose-organic-foods/

Well-nourished soil produces healthier and tastier food. I’ll never forget the time I brought an organic banana to my parents’ house and my dad ate one. “Omg…this banana is amazing! Is it a special type?” “No, it’s just organic.” My parents now go out of their way to buy organic bananas. Try it. You might be surprised. – CC

11

No: Taste is subjective

thumbs up

Whether or not a fruit or vegetable tastes better is widely subjective. One person could think organic tastes better while another might not notice a difference. Sometimes you yield a better crop regardless of whether it’s organic or not. Some produce is just more fresh than others or you’re eating it at the right time when it’s ripe. But at the end of the day, unless it’s putrid and rotten, taste is usually just a matter of, well, taste. – JI

10

Yes: It gives people a choice

choiceSource: http://www.organicitsworthit.org/get/10-reasons-buy-organic-0

It’s true that we have already have so many choices in our daily lives, but organic farming gives you a way to take control over what you put into your body. It gives you an alternative to conventional farming and what big business decides to put in your food. To put it another way, you’re voting with your money on what types of food are acceptable to you. – CC

9

No: Organic profit margins are through the roof

profitsSource: https://www.motherjones.com/food/2015/06/organic-farming-more-profitable-conventional/

The organic market has boomed over the years. Many point to supply and demand as the high price of organic, but there’s also another reason—profit. The “organic” label has given farmers a reason to charge a much higher premium on their food. A study from Washington State University found that organic farming is between 22 to 33 percent more profitable than conventional. In a market where profit margins are razor thin, those profits are way too high to account for simple supply and demand. – JI

8

Yes: It provides your body with more nutrients

peppersSource: https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/a20453119/top-reasons-to-choose-organic-foods/

Because the soil on organic farms is more sustainable and nutrient rich, the foods produced on these farms are more nutrient rich as well. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine conducted a review of 41 different studies comparing the nutritional value between organically and conventionally grown produce and the nutritional value of organically grown produce is significantly higher. What do they mean by significant? Try 21.1% more iron, 27% more vitamin  C, 29.3% more magnesium, and 13.6% more phosphorus. – CC

7

Yes: It reduces your body's toxic burden

gas-mask-1299859_960_720Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14763/a-doctors-top-4-reasons-to-eat-organic.html

As I mentioned earlier, there are several chemicals sprayed all over conventionally grown produce. Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that these chemicals are safe in small doses. While that’s all well and good, there are many things in our daily lives that are only safe in small doses, and they all add up. Going organic is one easy way to reduce that toxic load on your body. – CC

6

No: Pesticide use isn't enough to be harmful

pesticidesSource: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensavage/2016/03/19/why-i-dont-buy-organic-and-why-you-might-want-to-either/#7207e31869c3

The campaign against conventional farming has been very effective in reducing consumer confidence. Most people are afraid the use of pesticides causes cancer or other health problems. Farmers use small amounts of pesticides, too small to be harmful, and many of the pesticides are non-toxic to humans. – JI

5

Yes: It allows for greater biodiversity

biodiversitySource: http://www.organicitsworthit.org/get/10-reasons-buy-organic-0

Organic farms tend to have greater biodiversity and less soil erosion. In fact, studies indicate that there’s up to 50% more plant, insect, and bird life on organic farms. – CC

4

No: Organic farms use pesticides, too.

organic pesticidesSource: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

First of all, yes, organic farms use pesticides. Their certification allows for use of pesticides from natural sources. And, while it might be hard to hear, many of these pesticides could also be harmful to humans. Rotenone, for example, was considered safe and natural, but studies found it caused Parkinson’s disease in rats. So, if both farms use pesticides, why pay more for it? – JI

3

Yes: It protects water supplies

clean waterSource: https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/a20453119/top-reasons-to-choose-organic-foods/, http://www.organicitsworthit.org/get/10-reasons-buy-organic-0

The fertilizers that are used in conventional farming are often petroleum-based. This can lead to an excess of nitrogen and phosphorous in the ground which then negatively impacts the ground water supplies. Organic farms aren’t likely to create “dead zones” in larger bodies of water because of their safer practices. – CC

2

Yes: It's the only way to guarantee no GMO's

gmoSource: http://www.superlife.com/whybuyorganic/

If you are trying to avoid GMO’s, organic is the main way to guarantee GMO-free produce. While the adverse effects GMO’s are heavily debated, the point is that we don’t really know yet how they can impact our bodies. – CC

1

No: It's not well regulated

usda organicSource: https://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/04/is-organic-really-organic-a-deep-dive-into-the-dirt.html

The “Certified Organic” label may have been created by the USDA but it’s not regulated by them. Instead, farmers pay third party organizations to police their farming practices. With roughly 24,000 organic farms and only 80 accredited organizations to audit these farms, you don’t have to be a math whiz to know this system has regulation problems. On top of that, it’s probably not the greatest system to pay an organization to police you. Chances are good many could just look the other way. – JI



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