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ORGANICS - THE RIGHT CHOICE

The organic product category is one of the fastest-growing segments of the food industry. Sales of organic spices, for example, are growing four times faster than the sales of conventional spices. One out of every four shoppers seeks natural or organic foods every week. And perhaps the best news of all is that certified organic agricultural land in the United States is increasing dramatically-there are now over 1.5 million certified organic acres tended by more than 5,000 organic farmers. Exactly what does organic mean, and why are organics a smart choice for socially responsible shoppers?

The Advantages of Organic AgricultureOrganic foods are grown on land that has been free from the use of synthetic fertilizers, growth regulators, insecticides or herbicides for at least three years. But organic farming is more than just substituting natural substances for harmful synthetic chemicals. Organic farmers are dedicated to improving the soil and protecting the ground water, investing labor today so our children will enjoy nature's bountiful harvest tomorrow. Some the ways organic farmers protect our environment:

Rather than planting the same crop year after year, depleting the soil of its nutrients and encouraging infestations of harmful weeds and pests, organic farmers rotate their crops to revitalize the soil.

Instead of relying on expensive and potentially harmful pesticides and herbicides, they interplant selected crops to naturally manage pests and weeds. With organic farming, there are no pesticides seeping into our ground water or running off into lakes and streams.

By building the soil using composted manure and crop diversification, organic agriculture preserves the land for future generations. (Conventional farming methods erode over 30 billion tons of topsoil from U.S. croplands each year.)

And while mainstream farming narrows the spectrum of products grown by limiting its efforts to the most uniform, unblemished and easy-to-ship items, organic farming adds to both the biodiversity of the environment and the range of products available to the consumer.

Another important benefit of organic agriculture is that it eliminates health risks to growers. Despite strict regulations governing their use, synthetic pesticides and herbicides are continuing to adversely affect the health of farm workers. A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that farmers exposed to herbicides were six times more likely to develop cancer than people who don't farm. Other studies have shown that pesticides may impair the nervous system and affect mental functions, including learning. The problems are multiplied in developing nations, where pesticide use is often poorly regulated. Organic farming offers a safer alternative for farmers and their families.

When you buy organically grown products, you're using your purchasing power to vote for the health of the earth and the people on it.

The Importance of Organic Certification

There is a very simple solution to avoiding confusing and misleading claims when it comes to organic products-simply buy products that have been certified organic. Certification is your guarantee that the organic product has been grown and processed according to the strict guidelines established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Before a product can be labeled as certified organic, farmers and processors must meet the following requirements:

We're excited about the boom in organics because this trend represents a shift toward a healthier, safer way of living that benefits us all. We believe organic agriculture is a pathway to a brighter future.

Written by: EcoMall


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