Co-operative of Organic Farmers of India



Why Organically Grown Food Is Healthier

 

Organically grown food is richer in minerals and anti-oxidants as shown by the result of analysis tabulated below.

 

Elements Conventionally Grown Rice  Organically Grown rice Increase
Iron 0.014 % 0.515 % 357 %
Magnesium 0.260 % 0.938 % 257 %
Potassium 0.324 % 1.056 % 225 %
Calcium 0.023 % 0.067 % 191 %
Phosphorus 0.023 % 0.023 % 181 %

Source : Result obtained using samples from our fields by a doctoral student of organic farming at the University of Pune

 

As you can see, the increases are 200 - 300 % and not of a marginal nature. How does this happen?

 

         To understand this, one must understand the design of Nature as seen in our forests. Mother Nature has provided us with trees and soil microbes. Trees and microbes depend on each other for their nutrition. The trees provide shade and 'food' in the form of dead leaves which drop to the soil, decomposes and become humus which is food for the microbes. The microbes in turn loosen minerals from the soil and make them available to the trees. This mutual interdependence is called 'symbiotic activity' and under this arrangement, both trees and microbes thrive. This design has been evolved and perfectef by Nature over millions of years.

 

This symbiotic relationship was broken when man started farming about ten thousand years ago by cutting trees ans clearing land. The trees could no longer provide shade or dead leaves which formed the food for the microbes and fewer microbes were available to loosen minerals from the soil and make them available to the surviving plants. It is the objective of organic farming to restore the symbiotic activity by following certain practices. These are

 

Organic farming seeks to re-establish this relationship between microbes and the plants by taking the following steps:  

 

1. Stopping the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

2. Adding organic manure in the form of cattle dung, wormi-compost, farm yard manure etc. to the soil to substitute for the leaves that naturally drop to the forest floor.

3. Practicing green manuring where a crop such as Sann Hemp is grown specifically to bury it in the soil so as to increase the organic matter in the soil.

4. Adding bacterial cultures to the soil.

5. Providing shade in the form of 'mulch' ( a layer of grass and dried leaves to prevent the Sun's rays from hitting the soil directly).

 

These practices lead to revive the microbial activity in the soil and result in higher mineral content in organically grown crop, as shown in the above table.

 

As a result of these steps, the soil becomes healthier, the plants that grow on them become healthier and are able to resist attack by insect pests/ diseases and the plant produce becomes more nutritious for human consumption - more nutritious because it is higher in mineral content because of the enhanced microbial activity in soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   According to a study published in the "Journal of Applied Nutrition" the mineral content of  organically and conventionally grown apples, potatoes,  pears, wheat and sweet corn over a two year period , the amount of minerals in organic food compared to conventional food as follows: 

 

Calcium               

63 % higher in organic food

Chromium           

78 % higher in organic food

Iodine           

73 % higher in organic food

Iron                    

59 % higher in organic food

Magnesium       

138 % higher in organic food

Potassium         

125 % higher in organic food

Selenium           

390 % higher in organic food

Zinc                    

60 % higher in organic food

Source: "The Food Revolution" by John Robbins

Consuming organically grown food will not only improve your health
but also the health of the soil and the economic condition of the farmer.

 

 

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