Organic farming has become an
increasingly important issue for virtually all sectors of our society.
Farmers, restaurateurs, and consumers are all looking at organic foods
more carefully than ever before. The concept behind organic farming is
simple. Farmers use organic matter to enrich the soil, control pests and
enhance the yield they can generate.
At this point in time, farmers who use
organic methods are slightly disadvantage in relation to the large-sale
"industrial" farms. First, there are relatively few farms producing
organic foods, so the supply does not yet meet the demand.
Second, the costs of organic farming
is still greater than it could be to grow foods using chemicals. There may
be several reasons to account for this, but the net result is that until
there are more farms using organic farming methods, cost will remain
slightly higher for organic meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables and herbs.
How do you know if foods labeled
as organic are actually any different than non-organic products? There are
several organizations on the national and state level that monitor organic
farming. Regulations may vary from organization to organization, but in
essence, the farmer must have used no chemicals on the fields for a
specified number of years before any foods grown there can be labeled
organic. So, if you are purchasing foods that are supposedly organic, ask
the farmer or purveyor who has done the inspection of the farm.
The other big question regarding
organic foods is: Are they better for you? The jury is still out.
Some reports seem to indicate that any nutritional edge that they have is
wishful thinking. Others swing to the other end of the scale, claiming
greatly improved nutritional levels.