The word organic refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.  Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease.  Rather than using chemical weed killers, organic farmers may conduct more sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay. 

While organic foods tend to cost more because the growing process is more costly than their mass produced counter parts, they are chemical and hormone free.  Conventional farming of mass produced fruits, vegetables and grains are grown using chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth, synthetic insecticides to reduce pests and disease, and synthetic herbicides to manage weeds.  Conventional farmers of livestock give animals’ antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.  All of which are put into our own bodies when we consume them. 

Organic farming uses natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost to feed soil and plants.  Organic farmers use pesticides from natural sources that benefit insects and birds, apply mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease, and use environmentally-generated plant-killing compounds.  They also rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.  Organic farmers give their livestock organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors.  They use preventive measures like rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing to help minimize disease.  The process of organic farming is more detailed, requires more hands on labor, more land for livestock grazing and produces less turn over than conventional farming but the end result is a much healthier version of any mass produced counterpart that is loaded down with pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics. 

A recent study examined the past 50 years’ worth of scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods.  Though research is ongoing, researchers concluded that organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs are comparable in their nutrient content.  So with nutrient content the same, consumers must weigh their options when choosing.  Organic foods cost more and may spoil faster without the wax coating put on many fruits and vegetables but they are free of harmful additives that bring a list of dangers along with them.  Conventionally grown foods cost less and may last longer but are loaded down with pesticides and growth hormones.  For more information on the dangers of pesticides, take a look at

They also contain antibiotics in mass produced meats which prevent diseases in animals but create a resistance to those who consume them.  To learn more about the effects of the overuse of antibiotics in cattle, refer to this posting