Once upon a time, all food was organic.

Before the invention of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, we solely relied on natural methods of farming, such as crop rotation. This ensured that the food that we grew was healthy and nutritious, both inside and out.

As world population grew, the amount of food needed to sustain the population needed to grow too…

That is what led to the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides – to help ensure that crops were full, that they took less damage from pests, and that food could be produced faster and on a bigger scale than ever before.

Let’s dive in to what makes something organic.

What makes something organic?

An organic food is pure: as nature intended it to be.

Put simply, organic food is grown naturally, and without the use of any chemicals, synthetics, or unnatural methods of production.

Food Cultivation

There are strict rules as to what makes something ‘organic’The Benefits of Organic Food | The Organic Choice these days in both arable and pastoral farming.

On arable farms, farmers are only allowed to use organic fertilisers to grow crops. If chemical or synthetic fertilisers and pesticides are used, then the crop cannot be called organic.

This means that farmers can only use organic manure and compost as fertiliser. They can also only use natural pest control methods, such as crop rotation and soil tillage (where farmers plough the fields when the soil is dry to expose larvae eggs – which dry out and die in the sunlight).

On pastoral farms, for an animal’s meat to be called ‘organic’, the animal needs to have been reared in an extremely controlled manner.

For a start, the animal must only have been given organic feed – no GMO feed or alternatives are allowed.

The animal generally also needs access to the outdoors, and the use of antibiotics and growth hormones is strictly prohibited. By-products from other animals are also not allowed to be used in any part of the process.

Benefits of eating organic food

Better for the Environment

Organic farming prohibits the use of chemical and/or synthetic fertilisers.

These substances can cause damage to farm land. Groundwater run-off can cause these chemicals to get into water systems, damage natural habitats for animals, and pose a risk to animal life.

It can even damage human health – for example blue baby syndrome can be caused by nitrates in water from groundwater contamination.

Organic farming also helps to save water and energy.

Better for your Health

Organic food has never had the treatment of harsh chemical fertilisers and/or pesticides. These chemicals enter the food chain by being absorbed by plants and animals, before humans consume them.

Chemicals used in non-organic farming can cause a whole array of threats to human health. For a start, groundwater runoff can cause excess nitrogen in air and water, and this has been linked to several cancers, respiratory problems and cardiac disease.

Groundwater contamination has also been linked to birth defects in newborns, hypertension, stomach, gastric and testicular cancer, and goitre.

Eating organically will ensure that you avoid coming into contact with chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and will decrease the chances of you becoming affected by them.

Organic Food Has Higher Nutritional Value

Naturally, as organic food is grown the natural way, it generally has higher nutritional value than non-organic food.

For example, organic milk has 60% more omega-3 fatty acids than its non-organic counterpart. This benefit also extends to organic cheese, yoghurt and anything else made with organic milk.

This heightened nutritional value will contribute to giving you greater life force, and more energy throughout the day!

Even though organic food can be a little more expensive, you will find that you will feel content when eating less. This is simply your body responding to the increased nutrition in organic food – meaning that you need to eat less to feel full.

Better Taste

Organic food does tend to taste a whole lot better than its non-organic counterpart.

A couple of foods that you especially notice this with is organic bananas, oranges and tomatoes. However, pretty much any organic food is typically more full of flavour.

It really brings immense pleasure into eating, and it is so easy to carry on eating organic fruit and vegetables when they taste so good!

Better for Animal Welfare

If you are passionate about the welfare of animals, then that is another reason to be passionate about organic farms.

Animals need to be able to roam free on organic farms, and they generally enjoy a fantastic quality of life. Caging is also not allowed on organic farms.

Of course the strict procedures around what makes animal produce ‘organic’ helps to act as a regulatory measure for animal welfare too to a certain extent.

When you eat organic food, you are actually improving the quality of life for the animals too.

Less Risk of Disease

With fewer chemicals involved in the farming process, organic food certainly lowers our risk of disease and contamination from farm produce.

How much better could we get than farming the best foods, in the most natural way possible?

Natural methods of farming ensure that the food produced has maximum nutritional value, and helps to lower our risk of disease.

“We are what we eat, and if we only eat the best, then we will help to lower our risk of illness, and add to our life force”

Better for Farmers

Of course, let’s not forget our farmers – the hard workers who actually grow the delicious food that we eat!

As organic farming bans the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, it is worth noting that our organic farmers will also not have to come into contact with these potentially dangerous chemicals.

It is also worth remembering that our farmers will get paid more for their organic produce, as the cost to buy organic food is generally slightly higher.

Supports the Local Economy

A lot of organic food can be sourced locally, or through theThe Benefits of Organic Food | The Organic Choice internet (but still produced not too far away).

Buying local food helps to stimulate your local economy, and promote greener and more sustainable methods of farming.

Many non-organic foods can be sourced from all over the world, and flown for miles and miles to reach your kitchen. This is called the ‘food superhighway’, and contributed to an amazing amount of fuel consumption each and every year.

Let’s do something different – buy organic, and buy local to support your local economy, and eat healthy, wholesome food.

What is the general cost of buying organic?

Buying organic food is generally a bit more costly than its non-organic counterpart.

How big the difference is really depends on where you shop, the item that you are buying and whether the market/supermarket have any offers on organic produce when you shop.

For example, the cost of buying organic fruit and vegetables is likely to be less than buying organic meat on a consistent basis. Here is a link to a fantastic comparison by consumerreports.org back in 2015, where they compared the typical price difference between organic and non-organic produce.

Fresh produce is by nature perishable, so it is worth bearing in mind that you can sometimes pick up a lot of organic produce when it is reduced to sell too.

Sticking to buying organic fruit and vegetables that are currently ‘in season’ will also lower the prices when compared to food that are out of season.

With organic meals and snacks, it can also reduce the cost of buying organic if you are prepared to home-cook certain recipes yourself. For example, check out our recipe post for our tasty apple and cinnamon spelt cookies for a healthy organic snack that is not overly expensive!

The most important foods to buy organic

It is more important to buy the organic variety of some foods – simply because they get exposed to more dangerous pesticides, fertilisers and unnaturals in the production process.

Here is a list of the most important things to buy organic:

  • Meat/poultry products
  • Dairy products
  • Spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Peaches
  • Kale
  • Squash
  • Imported nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherries
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Green beans
  • Strawberries/blueberries/raspberries

The best places to buy organic food

Online

UK

Planet Organic – They are the UK’s largest fully certified organic supermarket, and they offer delivery across the whole of the UK, and Europe. They offer fruit and vegetable boxes, and individual items. They also normally have a good offer on their website – so it is highly worth checking out!

Amazon Organic Foods – Amazon has a wide range of organic food products – many of which you can order for prime delivery if you are a prime member. They also are great for shopping for super-foods (such as Spirulina), and supplements.

Ocado – Ocado is one of the biggest organic, home-delivery online supermarkets in the UK. They offer fantastic produce, and they normally have a good offer on with either free delivery on orders over a certain size, or money off on your first order.

Abel & ColeAbel & Cole are similar to Ocado in the products that they offer. They however sell food in different sized boxes for home delivery each week, rather than you being able to pick your own products online individually (a standard buy and get it delivered system). Their food is of great quality, and the boxed system is certainly worth a try.

Riverford Organic Farmers – Riverford is based in Devon, UK, and holds soil association certification. They have offer both meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy and drinks, and you can buy these in both boxes, and individually.

Organic Delivery Company – The Organic Delivery Company have a long 15-year track record of delivering organic produce in the UK, and they offer both boxes, and individual items to purchase.

US & Canada

Amazon Organic Foods – Amazon has a wide range of organic food products – many of which you can order for prime delivery if you are a prime member. They also are great for shopping for super-foods (such as Spirulina), and supplements.

Live Superfoods – Based in the US, Live Superfoods have a wide range of super-foods and nutritional supplements.

Prana Organic – Based in Canada, Prana Organic offer organic super-foods, seeds, nuts, snacks, syrups, spices and more for home delivery.

Farmbox Direct – Farmbox are the only USDA-certified organic food box delivery company in the US. It is a shame that they do not offer individual choice in their products (you have to buy a box), but they are widely featured in the media, and are worth checking out.

Bella Bean Organics – Bella Bean specialize in the home delivery of organic food boxes, and they also offer individual products for purchase. They offer all kinds of produce, at reasonable prices.

Offline

Local Markets – Local markets are a great place to shop for organic produce. The fact that the produce is produced locally is great for local farmers, and you will generally find some good bargains at local markets too!

Supermarkets – Your local supermarket will stock a variety of organic produce, but the quality and price of these will very much depend on where you shop. Some supermarkets specialise in organic food. Others will have a couple of lines of organic food as a high-end alternative to their non-organic range.

Our advice is to shop around, so that you find a good balance of good produce, at a good price.

Direct from Farmers – Many farmers run a small farm shop on their premises – making it possible to actually buy organic produce directly from the farm which produced it!

Depending on the farm shop that you go to, we have found that the produce can either work out far cheaper than a supermarket, or a lot more expensive. This is because even though you cut out the middle-men (which can make it cheaper), some farmers will hike the prices of the produce, as you are buying pure and direct from the farmer.

As always, it is a good idea to shop around to find a decent price. Remember to memorise where you find the best quality/cheapest organic produce so you can go back for more!

Do you eat organic food? How does it match up compared to its non-organic equivalent for you? Let us know below!

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