What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Food? — Sustainably Chic

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Everywhere around the world, there is an increasing awareness regarding healthy habits about not only the food we eat but also about the impact it has on our planet. About 30 years ago, it was very rare to meet someone who is vegan, while veganism hit an all-time high in 2020. 

Disadvantages of Buying and Eating Organic Food

As we just read, organic food is great for our environment and our bodies, but unfortunately, there are also a few disadvantages of organic food. 

We have all seen the organic apples in our local grocery store that are sometimes over twice as expensive as regular apples. The same goes for all other produce that is organically available. But, why are these products so much more expensive?

Certification

The first cause for higher price of organic produce is because of the certification process all farmers need to go through to be accredited as an organic farmer. Organic farming has very high standards, and farmers need to undergo a lengthy certification process in order to be certified as organic. These costs can be up to $1500- initially, and there are even annual costs involved which is based on the total organic production value of the farm. All increasing the costs the consumer has to pay for organic produce.

Labor

In organic farming much more manual labor is involved. In organic farming weeding is often done by hand and pests are controlled by introducing natural predators of those pests into the crop. This is much more labor intensive which again raises the price for organic food. 

Shelf life

The shelf life of organically produced crops is often much shorter compared to regular produce. This is because conventional produce is treated with waxes and preservatives to maintain its freshness during the shipping of the products. Sometimes also cling film is used to extend the shelf life of your fruits and veggies even further. Organic food does not receive these treatments and therefore spoil faster. This has another downside that part of (or even the entire) shipment of an organic crop might be lost if the crop was delayed or mistreated during transport. In this case, everything the farmer has produced might never reach the consumer. 

Farming Systems

Because pests and diseases are controlled in a less hard manner, the crop is much more susceptible to crop loss due to these circumstances. When a part of the farmer’s crop is lost, he has to increase the prices of his/her produce to ensure the continuation of his/her business.

Synthetic pesticides

Synthetic pesticides might still be used in organic farming, but this is only in special cases. Farmers who can show proof that the natural pesticides used have not worked sufficiently to control the pest in their crops are allowed to use synthetic alternatives. These farmers need to prove that their organic farming practices and other organic practices have failed multiple times. Only then may they switch to synthetic alternatives in order to avoid the loss of the entire crop. This then also means that some organic foods that are sold as organic might have been exposed to the same chemicals and processes as conventional crops (so always wash your fruits and veggies before consumption, even if they are organic). While the consumer still has to pay the price like it is an organic crop. 

So, even though there certainly are some great benefits of organic produce, there is no doubt that these disadvantages will make you think. So what is the best alternative? Purchase your organic produce from your local organic farmer. I am lucky enough that I live rather rural and have multiple organic farms nearby so I can purchase my produce directly from the farmer, but if this is not an option for you, your local farmers market might have all the fruits and veggies you need.

This content was originally published here.

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