At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind – Michael Pollan
In my critical issues class we were assigned to write a paper on a health issue that we are passionate about. It didn’t take me long to decide to do mine on the differences between Organic and Conventional foods and how the farming affects the earth and our health. After visiting farms and talking to some experts in the field I quickly learned about the benefits of living an organic lifestyle.
My first trip was to Green Heron Farm in Three Springs, Pa. It was such a scenic drive there, I had to stop and take it in!
After many winding roads, I made it to Green Heron where vegetable farmer Tony taught me all about Organic farming. He said that in general, 90% of what organic and conventional farmers do is the same but a few things make organic stand out:
- Main differences: soil management, chemical use & nutrition
- Organic uses FDA approved chemicals in very small amounts, as opposed to larger amounts used by conventional farmers (although some small organic farms don’t use any chemicals)
- Minimal chemical use = improved safety and health. Some research has shown links between chemicals and disease risk
- More nutrition in the soil=more nutrition in our bodies
- Feeds locally so you know where your food is coming from
- Reduces nation-wide food safety issues
Tony provided me with much more information, but I could go on for days!
After our nice chat he gave me a tour of his 11-acre vegetable farm. He grows food for the surrounding Washington, DC area including dining spots at American University!
Tony also has his own chicken and lay hens
Isolation box for chicks that get picked on a little too much
After my visit at Green Heron it was time to journey to my next destination, EcoOffshoots Urban Farm in Edmonston, Maryland. There I met with Christian who discussed the benefits of Organic and Urban farming
Since Urban Farms are located within cities, they grow the food upwards to manage space!
Christian was nice enough to teach me about composts and soil by showing me the worms that fertilize it! Don’t be too grossed out, these worms provide good bacteria that enrich the soil with nutrients for our food. It also allows him to protect the earth by reusing the soil more than once.
- Healthy agriculture = a healthy community
- Provides cleaner, safer water and food
- Soil is naturally enriched and provides higher quality nutrients
- Doesn’t destroy our natural resources
- Uses natural modes of energy-solar panes, underground aquaponics
After talking to both of these men it was clear to see the benefits of Organic farming. Less chemicals, added nutrients, sustainability and a better connection with our communities.
So what do conventional farmers have to say?
- Conventional farmers are now using less spray for better safety
- New technology provides a bigger supply of food to feed the entire nation
- Organic farming requires more labor –> increases costs of food –> makes food less accessible to the general public
- Research hasn’t proven that disease rates are linked to chemical usage
So what do you think? Organic or conventional?
Personally I do a mix, but try to choose more Organic. Eating Organic can be expensive, but some stores offer great deals so I just shop around! If it’s a little more expensive that’s ok, not only does it limit chemical intake, but it tastes better too!
After all this talk about delicious organic food, it was time to eat some! To get my fill I stocked up on Organic ingredients for my Super Veggie Quesadillas. To cut costs I bought store brand Organic versions and got awesome deals. Yes!
This is only a sampling of my Supper Veggie Dilla.
My recipe included all organic:
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Red pepper
- Red onion
- Baby Portobello mushroom
- and non-organic low-fat cheese (couldn’t find low-fat organic!)
Once all of the ingredients were chopped it was time to make this bad boy. Just spray a pan with some Pam, top a tortilla with 1/4 cup cheese, tons of veggies, and top with another tortilla. Let the dilla cook for a few minutes on each side and voila! You’re done
I topped my yummy creation with 2 Tbsp organic avocado and my secret ingredient, Greek yogurt. That’s right, I said it. Plain Greek Yogurt (non-fat) tastes SO similar to sour cream without the guilt. Perfect substitution.
Eating organically is healthy for both our bodies and the earth. Try eating organic foods every day, once a week, or once a month. As long as you’re eating your fruits and veggies you’re doing your body good. Have it Your Weigh