Organic food has many health benefits, from being fresher, containing far fewer pesticides, being more nutritious, and not containing any genetically modified organisms (GMOs). So eating organic produce, meat and dairy is personally beneficial to you and your family.
Yet organic food also benefits farmers in many ways, which eventually benefits you. Take a look below for five reasons why supporting organic farmers helps you and your family.
- Climate change.
Conventional, non-organic agriculture uses an incredible amount of fossil fuels to grow and harvest produce and raise livestock. Fossil fuels also play a great part in the manufacture of pesticides and fertilizers. Fossil fuel use releases greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that conventional agricultural use of land accounts for 9 percent of greenhouse gases, with synthetic fertilizers adding more than 304 million tons of greenhouse gases every year.
- Food security.
With climate change has come dangerous and erratic shifts in the amount of rain (adding the number and intensity of violent storms) as well as higher global temperatures, which contributes to drought. Organic fields have better hydrology: they can better capture, store and use water. For ever one percent of organic matter sequestered, soil can hold about 16,500 gallons of what is called plant-available water per acre of soil. In other words, organic soil holds on to water better, which can come in handy during times of drought: the Rodale Institute found that organic corn yields were 31 percent higher in drought years than the yields for conventionally grown corn.
- You’ll be helping small organic family farmers.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFHP) found that there were about 14,000 certified organic farmers in the United States in 2014, compared to only 3,000 in 1994 and 10,000 in 2006. Compared to the 2 million farms growing crops in the country today, the number of organic farms is very small. Yet family farms that are certified organic are profitable while growing produce or raising cattle in a way that not only doesn’t harm the environment, it benefits it.
- You’ll help create more agriculture jobs.
The OFHP also found that organic farms hire more people than do conventional farms, bringing on to their payroll an average 61 year-round employees compared to 28 for conventional farms. Organic farms also hire more seasonal workers.
- You’ll help preserve fossil fuels.
Many people today are worried about peak oil. Supporting organic farms means you can help preserve oil and gas reserves because sustainable and organic farming can use 23 to 56 percent less fossil fuel energy than conventional farming. And, as mentioned above, less greenhouse gas will be spewed into the air, helping to mitigate global warming.