There are many good reasons to buy organic fruit and veggies, if not organic everything!
They contain much greater amounts of vitamins and minerals – healthy soils full of nutrients creates healthy plants full of nutrients.
“On a per-weight basis, average levels of essential minerals were much higher in the organically grown than in the conventionally grown food. The organically grown food averaged 63% higher in calcium, 78% higher in chromium, 73% higher in iron, 118% higher in magnesium, 178% higher in molybdenum, 91% higher in phosphorus, 125% higher in potassium and 60% higher in zinc. The organically raised food averaged 29% lower in mercury than the conventionally raised food.”
“She concluded that organic produce is nutritionally superior. She compared the composition of vegetables grown simultaneously under different farming conditions, conducting 41 studies with 1,240 comparisons of 35 vitamins and minerals. Organically grown produce was higher in most minerals and vitamins and lower in potentially harmful nitrates, which result from nitrogen fertilizers. The greatest differences among all vegetables tested were in magnesium (organic was 29% higher), vitamin C (27% higher), and iron (21% higher). In fact, organic food had higher amounts of all minerals tested, although the difference was not always statistically significant because of small sample numbers. Organic crops had 15% fewer nitrates than conventionally grown foods and lesser amounts of toxic heavy metals. Worthington also investigated the effect of routine consumption of organically grown fruits and vegetables on the nutritional adequacy of the overall diet. Using the USDA recommendation of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she determined that consuming organically grown produce might make the difference between a deficient and an adequate diet.”
They contain higher levels of antioxidants – supposedly because if a plant grows in conditions that are too cushy, it never has to produce that antioxidants that fight of disease, pests, etc, that also benefit us later on.
Pesticides stay around in our bodies – this is particularly important for little kids.
“A study of two to five-year olds in the US has found that consumption of organic food can have a significant effect on children's pesticide exposure. Scientists at the University of Washington investigated 43 children from the Seattle area who either ate mostly conventionally grown or organic fresh fruit and vegetables and fruit juices. The children eating primarily organic diets had only one-sixth the level of organophosphorus pesticide metabolite concentrations compared with those eating conventional diets.”
“EPA and USDA reports show that by the time the average child is one year old, the infant will have received the acceptable lifetime dose of eight pesticides from just 20 commonly eaten foods. The Environmental Working Group (non profit research institute) reports that children may receive 35% of their lifetime dose of carcinogenic pesticides by the age of 5.”
They have cancer preventative stuff, and also don’t have cancer producing stuff!
“Fruits and vegetables grown organically show significantly higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown foods, a new study suggests. The research found that pesticides and herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics -- chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and also happen to be good for our health. The study by UC Davis researchers measured antioxidants found in corn, strawberries and a type of blackberry called a marionberry. The results showed a significant increase in antioxidants in organic and sustainably grown foods versus conventionally grown foods: corn was 58.5% higher, marionberries were about 50% higher, strawberries about 19% higher.”
It is better for the planet – the idea of organic growing is to enhance the soils; most commercial farming degrades the soils, just taking what it can.
You are supporting farmers who believe in these principles too. Often these farmers are more local, which is another plus.
I know I’ve been slack and not put in references for the quotes above. They are all taken from the link below, which has further links to the relevant research.
The issue commonly called Peak Oil is about the concern that we are about to reach the “peak” of oil availability – that is, we have used half the oil resources in the world, and its availability will be declining after the peak. Along with the decline in quantity available, there is increased demand (due to all of our lifestyles, as well as catch up of a few important countries who hadn’t been using much oil previously). This will lead to an increase in oil prices.
This will mean that just about everything will be more expensive. Obviously transport will be more expensive (including petrol to run your car, flights for overseas travel, etc), but also food (modern agriculture relies on fertilisers that are oil by-products, also cost of transporting the food will increase), anything plastic (which uses oil in the production) and anything that isn’t produced locally (due to increased transport costs). It also could lead to huge increases in interest rates on loans.
Predictions for what life will be like “after the peak” vary, from war, famine, breakdown of law and order (mad max type scenarios) to a return to more local production of everything, simpler lifestyles, etc.
When is the Peak likely to occur? This is a bit of a mystery because countries that rely on oil production seem to keep a lot of info about their reserves secret. Some people say around November 2005 (yes, this year!), while other predictions vary, with the furtherest date being about 8 years away. Remember, that we aren’t talking about a sudden stop in availability, but a decline, which is likely to at least start gradually.
Now I’m not putting this information here to scare anyone, because I hope that in this country we will be less likely to do the war, mad max stuff then in some other countries. I also hope that alternative technologies will become available to help us out, but from what I’ve read, there is little that will actually be ready in time for a completely smooth transition. Some of the alternatives are very bad solutions environmentally and health wise too.
I do think that it is important to be aware of this information though. It may mean a few little things that you do differently – like purchasing low power use appliances or ones that can easily be converted to solar, or even installing solar power. Perhaps it would make a difference to where you want to live (near the city but not in it seems safest – places too far away from cities may lose resources first; near family and friends would be a good idea to counter increasing cost of transport). Many of the things that you could do – solar power, relying less on cars, etc – are good things to do anyway, being better for the environment and often yourself, so no harm if there isn’t the major crises that some people are expecting.
This is my own interpretation of what I’ve read, written quickly without referring to any of the many documents. I’ll give a few links here in case you want to read more, but please, if anyone has a different interpretation of thinks I’ve omitted anything important, or can see any errors, let me know so I can update/change my blurb.
This is the transcript of a talk on ABC Radio National just a very short time ago (this month I think?). Once again, a nice, simple overview.
This download is about 20 pages and really gives a lot of info. Read it is you want lots of facts and explanation.
This site has links to heaps of info – papers and presentations outlining the problem, potential results, possible solutions, etc.
This one is quite dramatic, but does have a lot of information.