Knowing what is organic food and what isn't is important to help you understand and make the best health choices for you and your family.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity."
Um yeah, but exactly what is organic food? Simply put, organic food is any food that has been grown using accepted organic practices. Those organic practices include:
No farmer or manufacturer is permitted to use the term "organic" on their label without being certified. They may however specify if certain ingredients are organic, or if the grower or producer follows organic practices without certification they will often highlight the practices they follow, such as "Grown with Pesticides" or "Raised with Hormones or Antibiotics".
Organic food is instead grown with organic pesticide and herbicide methods, using only natural fertilizers, organic or heirloom (traditional) seeds, no or all-natural perservatives and holistic animal husbandry practices.
So, how do you tell what is organic food and what isn't? Well, you can look for the certification from multiple private or governmental agencies, such as USDA Organic or Quality Assurance International (QAI). Or you can get to know your local farmer's at the farmer's market, ask them about their practices or visit their farm to know more.
Although knowing what is organic food does guarantee you certain things, there are several things that the "Certified Organic" label can't guarantee:
Understanding what isn't doesn't change what is: Organic food is still a better choice, especially when you're shopping at the grocery store and don't know your farmer.
But knowing your farmer, shopping the local farmer's market, visiting the farm and even growing your own organic garden will always help you to know for sure what is organic food and what is organic AND sustainable.
Knowing what is organic food will help you make wiser choices and bigger steps towarder greener living.
When you're ready for a few more steps:
Whatever step you take, remember to have fun!
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