The Trouble with Organic Food is…….
By the heading you’re probably thinking I’m going to complain that some of the Organic food in our fields, shops, supermarket and ultimately our diet isn’t really organic. Or that I’ve found out that some of the growing media and fertilisers used to grow your food may be tainted with a “hidden chemical”. No Way.! I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of Organic food, just as you probably are. And I have not met one customer yet who I wouldn’t trust to grow me Organic food.
The trouble with Organic food is that it isonly Organic and may be no more nutritious than non organic.
When growing, a farmer or horticulturists does not think about the nutritional quality of the harvest he’s just produced , he’s more concerned about ensuring that the plant or animal hasn’t come into contact with anything it shouldn’t, Besides, how would he know? How do any of us know what the nutritional value of the next apple you bite into? Farmers and growers get paid by the kilo, litre, tonne or bushel of which they produce and not with the nutritional value uppermost in their minds. We live in a market economy whether we are in the Organic world or not, so why should they? It’s the public perception that the word “Organic” is safe, clean and nutritious and the proceeds from its sale doesn’t fall into the hands of some conglomerate purely interested in profit.
But things are changing, don’t rest on your laurels and the draconian view that the word “Organic” labelled on your products or stamped above your door will keep you in business for ever
All food has a nutritional, mineral and vitamin content and if you agree with me in the statement that “we are what we eat” and you wish to enjoy peak health you should be interested that why I have come to the conclusion that a lot of Organic foods are nutritionally no more beneficial than their conventional counterpart.
By now most people know what “Organic” means and foods that are organic are widely known to be beneficial because they do not contain artificial chemicals or growth promoters which could lead to many illnesses and cancers. But good health is more than a mere lack of sickness. It requires positive measures far beyond eliminating bad ingredients. So what’s the positive side to all this? You must agree that it’s the positive things we put into our bodies not just a lack of negatives!. But those positive things have to be built into the produce or animal products we eat and they won’t be there unless they are first present in the soil where we grow.
Put simply, just because a product is Organic doesn’t mean that it automatically contains adequate nutrients. It’s a fact that the nutritional quality of nearly all food grown in this country has steadily declined over the past century as soils, through extensive farming, have been exploited, degraded and depleted of both organic matter and minerals.
If the necessary nutrients are not already in the soil naturally or have been extracted without being restored then they have to be returned in some way.
Nutrient deficiencies are common due to the high rainfall our country (and that of many others) receives. Phosphorous is always lacking in the native rock from which our soils evolved. Calcium and many other beneficial minerals are leached out of the topsoil as fast as they are released by the weathering of rock particles.
The backbone of Organic farming is composted organic matter in the form of animal manures, leaves, cover crops and compost. But many have gained the impression that simply pouring on locally abundant manures would naturally and automatically take care of the fertility needs of the soil and any consequential crop, After all manures are waste from the animal after its taken the nutrient content from its own food in order to live. But Organic matter is only half the story. Mineral augmentation or mineralization is equally as important but nearly always underemphasised in Organic culture. Organic matter is needed to make the minerals work and minerals are needed to get the most out of organic matter.
For example, the extreme importance of calcium as a plant nutrient has gone largely unrecognised. Given the high cost of importing necessary quantities of fertilisers and amendments, growers tend to do without them.
As a consequence to this the consumer is hurt as a result of buying and eating nutritionally defective produce. Among the serious deficiencies that we have seen an increase over the last 20 years is a failure of our food to provide adequate amounts of dietary phosphorous and calcium in organic form leading to a lack of bone and teeth development. Thus leading to dental problems and osteoporosis, (over half the population will be affected by these at some point in life).
Another is incomplete and inadequate formation of proteins essential to muscular and reproductive development as well as to the immune system. Most sickness is due not to microbes and attacks from outside the body but from the undermining of natural defences on the inside.
One of the most underestimated and frequently forgotten tenets of organiculture is that nutritionally complete soils produce nutritious crops which, in turn, are amazingly resistant to disease, pests and even weeds of which many flourish in soils of imbalance or poor fertility.
But there is good news! Mineral augmentation presents a challenge and an opportunity for organics to be clearly superior to conventionally grown foods. Chemical contamination aside, minerally augmented food is superior and will demand the highest prices.
Our personal well being and happiness depends on being well fed. Being well fed depends on the nutrient content of our food which depends on the nutrient content of our soils. Have no doubt, the success of the Organic world has come about not through government support but from demand from a growing proportion of the public who rightly believe that organically grown food greatly assists their well being. But lets go one step further and ensure that any sceptism from certain groups which pour doubt as to the real value of organic food are quickly dispelled by proving to them that there is no doubt to the true nutritional value of the organic food, you, as a dedicated organic grower, produce.