What Is Organic?
Simply stated, organic is a term that is used to describe a philosophy of working within the laws and systems existing in nature to achieve a healthy environment that is sustainable long-term. Rather than relying on pesticides, chemicals, or genetically modified seeds to grow their food, they use what nature intended - good ol’ fashion compost, cover crops, and soil rich in microbial life. The perfect recipe for good-for-you foods that promote the life of people and planet.
With all the noise out there, it can be hard to tell which foods are really made as nature intended. Here’s a chart to help clear up some of the confusion. If you’re looking for the cleanest food on the market, look for certified organic products.
Unlike other eco-labels, the organic label is backed by a set of rigorous federal production and processing standards. In the US and Canada, both the USDA Organic Logo and Canadian Organic Logo signify that a product is certified organic. As of June 30th 2009, both seals are recognized as ‘equivalent’ by the US Department of Agriculture and Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
It’s Good for People
Organic farming builds healthy soil through the use of compost, manure, cover crops and crop rotations and other natural methods. The nutrient rich organic soil then has everything it needs to feed the plants that grow from it without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. It’s all based on the understanding that natural microbial life in the soil is unequaled at providing the optimum nutrition to plants. When given the opportunity fight off pests and disease all by themselves, organic crops actually end up providing high quality nutrition to those that consume them.
Studies have found that organic food contains, on average, 25% higher concentrations of eleven differet nutrients than their conventionally-grown counterparts! (i) Organic fruits and vegetables have also been shown to be approximately 30% higher in antioxidants. (ii)
It’s Good for the Planet
Organic food is not only better for us, but also for the earth.Where industrial farms use pesticides that pollute farmland and water resources, organic farms eliminate the use of polluting chemicals to protect and conserve our soil and water systems – for instance, they use beneficial insects to prey on pests instead of using chemical insecticides that can remain in the soil and water for years. In fact, organic farms help build healthy soil in many ways: crop rotation encourages biodiversity, cover crops like clover add nutrients, prevent weeds and increase organic matter (which helps resist erosion) and composted manure and plant waste helps retain moisture and nutrients.
Sustainable farms are all about working in harmony with the environment; many organic farmers work to retain wetlands and other natural areas, protect biodiversity by collecting and preserving seeds and growing unusual varieties and respect the balance of the ecosystem by encouraging wildlife. A recent farming systems trial conducted by the Rodale Institute concluded that organic farms use 45% less energy than conventional farming practices and still manage to outperform conventional farms in years of drought.
Organic farming is based on growth and sustainability – it helps to preserve the land for us and the generations to come!
Nature’s Path’s Organic History
Nature’s Path is proud to say that all of our products are certified organic! In the 40-plus years since Arran Stephens opened his first organic restaurant, he has worked tirelessly to spread the organic love far and wide. From producing the first USDA certified organic cereals, to buying up farmland in order to convert it to organic, to supporting outreach to organic farmers, to installing an organic garden at our corporate headquarters in Richmond BC, Arran has worked to keep organic advocacy at the forefront of our company’s mission. He even went so far as to create a the position of Organic Program Manager in 2003, and hired Dag Falck for the job of overseeing organic operations and help conventional farmers learn about the benefits of organic farming. Dag was recognized by the Organic Centre for his remarkable contributions to the organic industry as the recipient of the 2012 Science and Techonology award.
Passionate about organics? Take action!
- Vote with your dollars in support of chemical-free food and agriculture. Look for the certified organic seal on pack.
- Get your hands dirty and grow your own food - the organic way. Not sure where to start? Check out Organic Gardening Magazine for some tips.
- Support community organic garden projects in your community.
i Source: New Evidence Supports the nutritional Superiority of Organic Plant-based Foods, C. Benbrook, et. Al., The Organic Center State of Science Review, March 2008
ii Source: Elevating Antioxidant Levels in Food though Organic Farming and Food Processing, C Benbrook, The Organic Center State of Science Review, January 2005