What does Organic mean?

Organic refers to a method of farming which is defined by government standards. In order for a food to be labeled organic, the farmers growing and processing the food must be certified to meet USDA standards. In general, synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other materials such as hormones and antibiotics are not allowed, although certain organically approved pesticides may be used under limited conditions. Organic foods are also not processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or chemical food additives. According to the USDA, “The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.” Organic refers not just to fruits and vegetables but also to grains, dairy, meat, poultry, and fish.

Difference between Conventional vs Organic Farming

Conventional Farming Organic Farming
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth. Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray synthetic insecticides to reduce pests and disease. Spray pesticides from natural sources; use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds. Use environmentally-generated plant-killing compounds; rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.
Earthbound farmPersonally, I would rather eat organic than consume food covered in pesticides, many of which are carcinogenic. しかしながら, organic produce is more expensive so if you’re not able to afford it, be sure to wash your produce well. One very easy and inexpensive way to cleanse produce of pesticides is to use bleach. I learned this trick years ago from a physician and have been using it since. Regular bleach will not harm your food and will dissolve pesticides and herbicides in a matter of minutes.


How to cleanse foods with bleach:

The easiest way to do this is to fill your kitchen sink half full of cool water and add 1 tablespoon of regular unscented Clorox bleach (or 1 tsp bleach per 1 gallon water). Depending on the food and skin thickness, some foods will need to be soaked longer than others. Fruits with thin skins like berries only need to soak for 5 minutes. Thicker skinned fruits soak for 10-15 minutes. I soak all vegetables including leafy green lettuce, kale and spinach for 10-15 minutes. Some people also soak meat, fish and poultry, if desired soak these for 10 minutes. At the end of the time period, empty the sink of bleach-water and fill with clean, pure water and soak for 5-10 minutes. Your food is now pesticide and herbicide free! Please note, washing your produce with plain water will not remove carcinogenic pesticides or herbicides. Another method to cleanse produce is with white vinegar which is reputed to kill 98% of pesticides. Use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts cool water and follow same soaking times as above.

Eating healthy produce without chemicals brings you one step closer to a healthier life!

References:
1) United States Department of Agriculture.

2) The Mayo Clinic.