1. Protect Future Generations
US research suggests that children receive four times the exposure of many common pesticides in food of an adult. This is because of their smaller body weight and their need for high-energy foods. The food choice you make now will impact on your children's health in the future.
2. Prevent Soil Erosion
Agricultural soil is eroding many times faster than it is built up naturally. A one kilogram loaf of bread in Australia is produced at the cost of seven kilos of soil lost. Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming, but in conventional farming the soil is treated more as a medium for holding plants roots. Conventional farmers tend to rely on chemical fertilisers, ignoring the soil ecosystem.
3. Protect Water Quality
Water covers three-quarters of the planet and makes up two-thirds of our body. Pesticides contaminate water and kill fish and other organisms.
4. Save Energy
Australian farms are no longer the family based small business of the past. Modern farms are highly dependent on fossil fuels. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilisers for use on US farms than is used to cultivate, and harvest all the crops in the United States. Organic farming is still mainly based upon labor-intensive practices such as weeding by hand and using green manures, crop covers and other simple techniques. Organic produce also tends to travel a shorter distance from the farm to your plate, thus reducing the amount of energy used.
5. Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate
Many pesticides approved for use were registered before there was extensive research that links these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. A 1987 US National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides might cause an additional 1.4 million cancer cases among Americans over their lifetime. The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms, and are harmful to humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are linked to birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.
6. Protect Farm Workers Health
A natural Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicideshad a six time greater risk than non-farmers, of contracting cancer. Farm worker health is a serious problem in developing nations, where pesticide use can be poorly regulated (where does your coffee come from?). It is estimated that pesticides poison one million people annually.
7. Help Small Farmers
Although more and more large scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small independently owned and operated family farms of less than 100 hectares. Small farms are under pressure and Organic farming could become one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.
8. Support a True Economy
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than conventional foods, conventional food prices do not reflect hidden cost borne by taxpayers, including hidden costs such as pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and clean up, damage to the environment (which is priceless) and costs to the medical system.
9. Promote Biodiversity
Monoculture is the practice of planting large areas of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach has tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients farmers use chemical fertilisers in large amounts, which only compounds the problem. Pesticides kill wildlife and soil organisms. Organic farmers know that they must reintroduce natural areas and encourage life in the soil.
10. Better Taste
Organic farming starts with an abundance of nutrients in the soil, which produces healthy plants. Healthy plants that are well supplied with minerals can make all the flavour producing substances they need. Many chefs use organic foods because they are well cared for during their production and post-harvest, and because they taste better!