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Last week we introduced you the term ‘Organic’ and what it means when it comes to food production. The post focused on exploring the key question; why is organic food better? For iRaw, it’s as simple as this: better for your health, better for the ingredient (plant or animal), better for the planet and better for the wildlife. But what now? It’s not enough to just learn ‘why is organic food better’. We need to put this knowledge into practice! So this blog post is all about action. Let’s get started.
Why is Organic Food Better? (a quick recap)
Planet earth is witnessing unprecedented growth and development thanks to mankind. On the one hand it’s exciting and on the other, incredibly worrying. Why is it worrying? Because the rate of growth has come at a significant cost to the planet. A few key takeaways as to why:
- The current global GDP (in the trillions) would drop to zero in an instant without nature because our entire economy and society is dependent on the eco-system.
- During the 20th century the global water demand increased sixfold. One in five lacks access to clear water, a basic human right.
- The loss of topsoil is irreversible. Soil erosion over the past 40 years has caused nearly a third of arable land to become unproductive.
- 1995-2006 every year bar one has ranked as the warmest on record. Global warming?
- Humans have changed eco-systems more rapidly and extensively in the last 50 years than any other comparable period.
In conclusion, we overuse the regeneration capacity of our planet by 50%.
It’s evident that something needs to change for the sake of not only our survival, but the whole earth’s. And given all the impact we’ve had to date, I think the onus is on us to step up.
The Impact of Going Organic
A lot of people choose to eat organic for health reasons, a very relevant and valid reason indeed. However, it’s also nice to know that your choice has a benefit to the earth as well. You might refer to our last post for more insight, but in short it’s better for your health, better for the planet, better for the ingredient and better for the wildlife. It’s a no brainer really.
It’s funny but organic farming and production was once ‘the only way to get things done’. And yet now it has it’s own terminology, rulebook and certification.
But it’s expensive!
One common argument against buying Organic products is the price. And it’s true. You have to remember that organic farming and production is a more hands on approach but it’s also about managing expectations. Supermarkets and global food giants hold quite the buying power. Not only that, but they also utilise ‘extra’ ingredients to help add bulk, extend shelf life and more.
We won’t harp on about it. If you want more information then Michael Pollen’s book, the Omnivores Dilemma, does a great job to explore farming in more detail.
Our Four Practical Tips to get Started
Not Everything MUST be Organic: It’s a slight contradiction, given this blog is titled ‘why is organic food better’. But you don’t have to buy everything organic. IF your budget is really tight, start with the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen. We touched on it in this post but in short, The Environmental Working group has created two lists which break down the most and least sprayed foods on the market to guide your buying choices. Aim to try and get all of the dirty dozen foods Organic where possible. The clean fifteen are those you can set aside for now.
Grow it Yourself: I mean it’s a no brainer really, but many forget that you always have the option to grow food at home. Perhaps because it can seem extremely daunting! Start slow with some herbs and as you gather confidence, add more and more. Here’s a guide. And living in an apartment is no excuse – Just check out this list of 15 foods to grow indoors.
Seasonal Produce is Best: Organic or not, buying seasonal produce is a key factor to always prioritise. Every minute your food is travelling, it is exposed to the elements and losing its nutrient value. We wrote about it here. Aside from the nutrient content, buying local helps to support local farmers and is benefit to our economy. For a list of seasonal fruits and vegetables, bookmark this page.
Markets & Buying Local: Getting Organic Certification is rigorous process. Not only that, but it takes quite some time and effort. Going to local markets is a great way to find seasonal produce, support local producers and suppliers and also meet and chat to the farmers themselves. This is also a fantastic opportunity to discuss their production methods, something most farmers are only delighted to discuss. You might be surprised to learn that one of them is 90% of the way there to being Organic but just doesn’t have the official stamp.
Love Your Beans! Beans, lentils and pulses are some of the cheapest foods you can find in a supermarket! Take advantage by stocking up on organic dried varieties which you can soak and use as needed. This is a great option to bulk up meals and add protein. Mix into stews, salads or even have as a meal all on it’s own.
A top tip is to always choose the dried version which you need to soak and cook. It might seem tedious but the extra effort is worth the saving. You always get far more for your money than the ready to eat tinned version. Plus the soaking helps to increase the digestibility and nutrient availability.
Stuck on Time? We live incredibly busy lives so anything that saves time is a bonus. We barely have time to buy food these days let alone take extra time to read food labels or even visit multiple stores. It’s just not realistic for many. If this sounds like you, then go the online route. There are some great resources from monthly subscription fruit and vegetable boxes, to online platforms specialising in either local or all organic produce. No doubt this will help you take you from just knowing the answer to ‘why is organic food better?’. Here’s just a few ideas.
Let iRaw prepare your meals on the go!
We have a range of Organic options you will love, including our iRaw Quiche OR Combo boxes of cookies, desserts or sweet/savoury mix which are healthy and high in protein. Click each image to learn more!
Alternatively, check out these online platforms which offer a great range of healthy and organic snacks:
So there you have it; why is organic food better and practical tips to get started!