Why Choose Organic Over Conventional Produce?
Organic produce is more widely available than it’s ever been, but it remains a more expensive option than conventional produce in most stores. In addition, some shoppers still have to go out of their way to find the all of the organic fruits and vegetables on their lists. Since everyone wants to save on their grocery bills and everyone wants convenience, why choose organic over conventional produce? There’s more than one reason, and the decision is often personal. In this post, we’ll take a brief look at the facts surrounding the organic-versus-conventional debate.
Nutrition and health
Ongoing research from around the world points to the nutritional benefits of organic produce and the danger of most synthetic pesticides.
A meta-analysis conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition based on data from more than 300 studies found that a range of organic crops have notably higher concentrations of several beneficial compounds and micronutrients, such as antioxidants. In an article on NPR.org, Chris Seal, a food and human nutrition professor, explains that organic crops are exposed to higher stress levels, such as insect attacks, than conventionally grown crops. In response, the plants form beneficial compounds to help fight that stress. For us, the benefits of these compounds include anti-inflammatory effects and increased protection of cells from damage.
Organic produce is grown without the harmful pesticides or chemicals used on conventional produce, which can find its way into our bodies. A study conducted in 2015 at the University of Washington revealed that people who often or always bought organic produce had less organophosphate insecticide in their urine samples, even with a higher-than-average daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Long-term studies indicate that this particular type of insecticide may harm children’s brain development. Children are particularly susceptible to “pesticide residues’ potential toxicity,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises parents to consult “reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables.”
Organic farming practices
Organic farmers focus on methods that enhance the quality of water and soil, cut down on pollution, and support the natural cycle of resources. Pests are controlled in a number of ways, including crop rotation, mulching, promoting “good” insects, and maintaining healthy soil. What they don’t do is use synthetic fertilizers or sewage sludge to add nutrients, genetically engineer plants to increase yields, or use irradiation to control pests and disease or preserve fruits and vegetables. Instead, organic farmers take advantage of nature’s own powers to preserve ecosystems and keep land, plants, and animals healthy.
In most stores, you have to be label-savvy to know just what you’re getting when shopping for produce. In a recent article from Edible Northeast Florida, Native Sun founder Aaron Gottlieb writes this about labeling:
“The PLU or price lookup number printed on each produce sticker tells you how the product was grown. If the PLU is only four numbers, the product was grown conventionally using pesticides. Five-digit PLU numbers that start with the number ‘8’ indicate genetic modification, and five-digit PLU numbers that start with the number ‘9’ tell you that the product is organic.”
These labels are confusing, and busy shoppers don’t always have the time to decipher every one.
Shopping for organic produce at Native Sun
As Aaron says in the Edible Northeast Florida Magazine article, “Shopping for produce is very personal and Native Sun delivers a produce experience that doesn’t cut corners.” What this means:
- You don’t have to read any labels in our stores, because organic produce is all we sell.
- The majority of our produce comes from certified-organic distributors.
- We focus on supporting local certified-organic farmers, and buy from them whenever possible.
Whether your top priority is to buy produce grown without harmful chemicals, support environmentally friendly farming methods, get better nutrition from your food, or all of the above, Native Sun’s uncompromising standards take the guesswork out of grocery shopping. If you’d like to know more or have any questions, we’d love to hear from you.