Home

Food Myths

Environment

What To Eat

Links

Find it

Producing healthy food that will not damage the earth's ecosystems.

Printable PDF format [Download]

Organically grown food is better for the environment and better for you.

Modern agricultural practice is heavily reliant on fertilizers and pesticides. Its vast monocultures are bad for wildlife and they are more vulnerable to epidemic plant diseases. They are also require more non-renewable fossil fuel.

Production of organically grown foods uses less energy than conventional farming methods. Organically grown crops use no artificial fertilizers and no pesticides. A 2001 report by ADAS quoted in the Future of Farming report noted that organically grown crops consistently required less energy to produce (Modified from the Future of Farming 03).

Crop

Conventional
Megajoules/kg

Organic
Mj/kg

Winter wheat

2.8

1.9

Potatoes

1.2

0.8

Carrots 0.6 0.4
Cabbage 0.9 0.2
Onions 1.2 0.8
Broccoli 3.7 1.9
Leeks 0.9 0.4

How you buy your food is important. If the food that you buy is transported long distances, even if it is organically grown, considerable energy is used in getting to you. Quite often the major supermarket chains which dominate most of the west's retail food outlets, have large centralized packaging and distribution systems which in some cases may mean that locally produced foods are sent hundreds of kilometres there and back. If possible buy locally from farmer's markets. Remember also that many things on sale have come huge distances because they are out-of-season locally.  A good guide is the price. Don't buy it if it is two or three times the lowest price of the year.

[Top]

 

 

References:

(Future of Farming 03) Tim Lang, Geof Rayner,  Editors. Why Health is the Key to the Future of Food and Farming. A Report on the Future of Farming and Food. 2003.