We believe the organic option is always the safest, healthiest, and most responsible option when it comes to grocery shopping. Sure, buying organic can come with a heftier price tag, but good quality is well worth paying for (especially if it means no potential health hazards). But what really is the difference between organic and non-organic food? It can be confusing to decipher what makes one better than the other or just what the difference really is between the two. To help, we have broken down category-by-category what differentiates organic products from their non-organic brethren. We have each type of food listed separately so it’s easy to see the real separation between organic and non-organic.
These foods are produced without the use of any unnatural chemicals or processes
- Grown using natural fertilizers (ie, manure and/or compost)
- Use natural methods to reduce/repel pests (ie, beneficial insects and birds, traps)
- Manage weeds by hand through crop rotation, tilling, and mulch
- Use rotational grazing to help minimize disease
- Allow animals access to the outdoors
As you can see, organic foods rely on mainly natural methods to help grow and maintain plants and animals. The use of natural fertilizer means less hazardous chemicals in the soil, which means less risk to local flora and fauna near the growing fields. Because organic foods don’t use chemical pesticides, beneficial insects are not killed alongside pest insects. Animals that will provide organic by-products (like eggs, milk, or even meat) are allowed to live outdoors and have space to roam. Additionally, organic produce tends to taste fresher and provide more vibrant flavors when used in cooking.
These foods are produced through the use of unnatural chemicals and processes
- Grown using chemical fertilizers and hormones
- Use insecticides to reduce/repel pests
- Manage weeds with chemical herbicides
- Use, antibiotics, growth hormones, and medications to prevent disease spread in close indoor quarters
Unlike organic foods, non-organic foods rely entirely on chemical methods to achieve proper production. Produce is exposed to chemicals that can have adverse effects on consumer health. Beneficial insects are killed alongside pests with chemical insecticides, which can harm local ecosystems. Additionally, the use of so many powerful chemicals can mean toxic drain-off into the soil. This can poison local flora and fauna, furthering damaging the ecosystem. Animals are also typically kept in cramped, inhumane quarters where disease runs rampant and forces the use of growth hormones and near-constant medication.
Just like you wouldn’t want bleach to be in your drinking water, you shouldn’t want harmful chemicals used on your produce or your animal by-products. All non-organic foods can pose a potential health and environmental risk. When you eat healthily, you should be looking to avoid adding anything potentially harmful to your diet. This means you should be reaching for organic products as they are grown and flourish using natural methods that don’t negatively impact local environments or pose threats to your health.