Climate change is here. We are living it, all around the world. But how do food choices affect the climate? Choosing organic may be one of the simplest ways to reduce your impact on planet earth.
Eating organic foods promotes healthier soil, less toxic pesticides, encourages biodiversity, and reduces non-sustainable farming practices.
Compared to industrial agriculture, both small-scale and large-scale organic farming methods generally use less energy, produce less greenhouse gas emissions, provides better animal welfare conditions, and are more resilient to climate change.
Here are five compelling reasons to support organic farming.
1. Protecting Water and Wildlife
Growing organically helps prevent erosion of landscapes, which helps to preserve water quality. When soil is eroded, it leaves behind nutrients that enter waterways and cause problems like algal blooms. Algal blooms can lead to extremely low oxygen levels in the water which can kill fish and other wildlife. When the soil is healthier it holds more water, thus preventing flooding and allowing ecosystems to thrive in balance with local rainfall patterns.
Organic farming reduces toxic pesticides which leach into waterways when they drain from farmlands. One effect of this pollution is toxic substance accumulation in fish. Fish become easier prey for larger fish and other animals in the food chain, which can lead to the accumulation of toxins that are harmful to humans.
Organic farming leads to better animal habitats, biomes, butterflies, bees, and bugs. Animals are more abundant when organic farming practices are in place, and wildlife-friendly habitats keep the land thriving for all species. Biodiversity is important because it provides natural pest control for plants, animals, and ecosystems. These farms are inhabited by many species that can coexist with all the life forms of an ecosystem.
Organic farms support pollinator populations that keep plant biodiversity thriving. The organic fruits and vegetables you eat are important sources of plant reproductive material and require pollination. These crops depend on healthy ecosystems to provide that service.
2. Building Soil Quality
Organic farms have healthy soil that is full of nutrients. This type of rich soil holds water well, prevents erosion, and doesn’t require as many additives to keep it fertile for growing crops. Conventional and industrial farms use soil additives and chemicals to grow food. These chemicals reduce soil biodiversity and harm soil quality which impacts food quality, and industrial farming practices strip farmland of nutrients while adding non-renewable amendments.
Organic farming practices promote soil quality by using cover crops, compost, crop rotation, and mulching to keep soil healthy and alive. In comparison, non-organic farms often require chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides to prevent weeds from taking over their fields.
3. Supporting Animal Welfare
Animal welfare involves proper housing for animals to support their physical and mental well-being. The standards for organic farming practices include humane treatment of livestock, which includes access to the outdoors and natural light. Organic farming ensures that no growth hormones or antibiotics are used, and the health of livestock is monitored by government inspectors under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The diet of organic animals is organic and free from GMOs.
Organic farming is the humane choice when it comes to animal welfare. Raising livestock in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) leads to poor health in animals which also affects meat and milk quality. CAFOs also require antibiotics to keep animals alive under crowded conditions that are stressful for them.
Conventionally raised animals are given growth hormones, antibiotics, vaccinations, and are fed genetically modified organisms. Factory farms create tons of toxic waste and greenhouse gasses. Their harmful environmental impact can be reduced by transitioning to organic farming practices.
4. Organic Farming helps with Climate Change
Organic farming has much lower impacts on the environment than traditional farming practices. It uses less energy, creates less pollution, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, and uses fewer chemicals.
Organic agriculture is sustainable because it doesn’t require huge amounts of energy or water inputs. Organic production is more efficient and cost-effective, especially if the needs of smallholder farmers are taken into consideration. To support a growing population, we need to ensure that farming methods minimize negative effects on the environment without sacrificing food quality.
The efficient use of resources in organic farming contributes to lower costs and higher profits for growers, which means more money is reinvested in local economies. This helps create a sustainable cycle of growing healthy food without harming the environment or adding GHGs to the atmosphere.
A 30-year study from the Rodale Institute found that organic farming removes over 50% of agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The vast majority of greenhouse gases come from industrial farming practices, and these contribute to global warming.
5. Sustainability for Future Generations
The sustainable management of natural resources is a priority on organic Canadian farms because farmers must show how they preserve the environment. To meet standards as an organic farmer, you need to demonstrate how you work with nature, not against it.
Growing food in a sustainable way is an absolute necessity to feed future generations and avoid further environmental degradation from farming practices that harm the earth.
Organic farming is good for you, the environment, animal welfare, and it helps fight climate change. Choosing organic supports small farmers who respect their land and use fewer chemicals. Your choice to buy organic means that your food dollars are invested in a sustainable future where nature is nurtured on our farms instead of destroyed by harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
MCLEAN is proud to offer a wide selection of certified organic deli meats that are also truly preservative-free.