The average child receives exposure to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Food choices made now will affect your future health.
Soil is eroding seven times faster than it is built up naturally. Soil is the foundation of the food chain. Conservation methods such as frequency of cultivation, leveling and mulching are things organic growers must consider as well as crop residue management plus design and maintenance of water application and drainage systems. Achieving control over any erosion potential is a prerequisite for certification.
Pesticides contaminate water. Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-quarters of the planet. Polluting the very thing that sustains life is never a good idea.
Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilisers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops. Organic farming is based on labour intensive practices such as hand weeding, and uses green manuring and crop covers instead of synthetic fertilisers to support soil.
Many pesticides approved for use were registered long before extensive research was undertaken linking these chemicals to cancer. It is now considered that 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides may cause cancer. Pesticides are poisons designed to kill organisms so they can also harm humans. Besides cancer, pesticides have been implicated in birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.
Farmers exposed to herbicides have six times more risk than non-farmers of contracting cancer and this figure is rising. Field workers suffer one of the highest rates of occupational illness. Farm workersâ health is also a serious problem in developing nations, where pesticide use is poorly regulated and the use of chemicals banned in western countries is widespread.
Although more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small and family owned. North America has lost more than 650,000 family farms in the past decade. The US Department of Agriculture predicts that half their farm production will come from 1% of farms by the year 2000. Organic farming could be one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than conventional foods, conventional food prices do not reflect the hidden costs of subsidies borne by society. These hidden costs include fuel and transportation subsidies, pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and clean up, environmental damage, sickness and so on . . .
Mono cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural plant life left the soil lacking in minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilisers were used. Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1950 and 1970, crop losses due to insects doubled - because some insects had become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.
Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, leading to the nourishment of the plant, the fruit, our taste buds, and us . . . it is like something remembered from childhood.