Organic farming promotes the sustainable health and productivity of the global ecosystem – soil, plants, water, air, animals and people. Organic foods are farmed in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner which focuses on soil regeneration, water conservation and animal welfare.
Most people think of organic farming in terms of what is NOT allowed:
- Organic produce and grains are grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, herbicides or GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
- Processed organic foods do not contain chemical preservatives or synthetic additives such as artificial colourings or waxes
- Animals are never given growth hormones and are never fed the by-products of other animals
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services have determined that of the 25 most commonly used agricultural pesticides:
- 6 disrupt normal functions of hormones.
- 10 are harmful to reproductive organs.
- 5 are toxic to the nervous system.
- 17 cause genetic damage.
- 18 are harmful to the skin, eyes and lungs.
- About half are comprised of cancer-causing chemicals.
In 2002, a Consumers Union study found that of the 12 most commonly eaten produce items and wheat samples, 73% – 90% were contaminated by pesticides, even after washing and peeling.
The U.S. Geological Survery found that more than 50% of the fresh water wells they sampled contained one or more pesticides. Results were worse in areas close to agricultural areas.