The Ups and Downs of Organic Vegetables – Useful Facts You Ought to Know
May 29, 2011
There is a big difference when we say we eat organic vegetables and conventionally grown vegetables. The term organic, when used to describe fruits and vegetables, connotes something that is not altered from its natural state by pesticides and preservatives. While it may be difficult to distinguish organic vegetables from conventional ones, there are strict government guidelines set by the US Department of Agriculture. Fruits and vegetables can only be labeled organic if they met these standards. Having a thorough understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of organic vegetables will certainly help you choose which one to buy.
Advantages of Organic Vegetables
Organic veggies are grown naturally. This means that there are no artificial or commercial pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers that are applied to the vegetables from the time they are planted up to the time that they are harvested. In organic farming all the farming materials used are natural. For example, the fertilizers that make the soil fertile come from animal manure and compost and the pesticides that are used to repel pests are also other naturally-sourced materials. This ensures that organic vegetables grow and are harvested in their purest form. This makes organic vegetables taste better than conventionally grown ones.
The pesticides that are sprayed on conventionally grown vegetables will always leave residues that cannot be easily removed by washing. As such, there is always that possibility that we can ingest these residues when we eat the vegetables. The accumulation of pesticide residues in our bodies carries with it the risk of various serious diseases like cancer, tumors and allergies, among others. These pesticides can be passed on from the mother to child during pregnancy and through breast milk. Moreover, studies show substantial evidence that links pesticide exposure to fetal abnormalities, low birth weight, behavioral problems and impaired motor skills. Children who are exposed to pesticides at the early stage life are prone to various growth and developmental retardation.
Disadvantages of Organic Vegetables
Organic veggies are relatively more expensive than the conventionally- grown veggies. This difference can be attributed to the costly farming methods of organic veggies and the fact that very few farmers go organic. There is more manual work required in organic farming since they do not use chemicals in improving their crops. And this adds up to the cost. For example, instead of spraying the vegetables with herbicides they normally resort to manual weeding and crop rotation which is doubly expensive. Also, achieving organic certification from the government entails added expense.
In terms of freshness, organic veggies are always fresher than traditionally grown vegetables. This is because organic veggies do not get artificial waxes or preservatives to stay fresh. By the time they reach the customer they are naturally fresh. However, since they do not get sprayed with preservatives and other artificial chemicals they also have shorter shelf lives.
It is not easy to buy organic vegetables. Because of its very cumbersome farming method the supply of organic vegetables in the market is very limited. The increasing demand for organically grown veggies has also made it difficult to get as the demand constantly outnumbers the supply.
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