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Organic Vs. Traditional Farming Methods

Anyone who has walked into a grocery store lately knows that there are many labels and all of them seem tricky. Between food claims like “local” and “organic” a savvy shopper may be at a loss. Recent studies indicate that many people just do not know what these labels mean and twenty three percent of shoppers mistakenly believe that “local produce” means that it is always “organic”. Meanwhile another review of research shows that organic crops actually offer a higher level of antioxidants and have fewer pesticide residue than regular crops. Of course all vegetables and fruits come with nutritious options but if eating organically is important there are three big differences that one needs to know.

The first difference is how the crops are grown. Organic farms are not allowed to use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. They cannot use genetically modified seeds either. The crops on organic farms cannot be exposed to those things for three years prior to being harvested. Conventional farms can use GMO’s and they often grow their crops with both chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Conventional farming versions often leave more pesticide residue on items such as apples, potatoes, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, spinach, nectarines, cucumbers, strawberries, grapes, cheery tomatoes, and snap peas.

The second different is where the crops are grown. Organic crops can be cultivated anywhere so long as the farm where they are grown adheres to the strict USDA organic-certification standards. As for traditional farms there is no consensus as to what “local” really signifies. In fact local can mean anywhere up to four hundred miles away from where it is being sold.

The third difference is in the nutritional differences. Organic foods contain about seventeen percent more antioxidants than traditional crops. With traditional farming there is a higher yield and a larger size for the crops both of which reduce the concentration of nutrients found in the foods.

Overall there are nutrients contained in both traditional crops and organic crops. Understanding the differences between the way they are grown though can help alleviate the confusion associated with certain labels in the supermarket. The three biggest differences between organic and traditional farming include how the crops are actually grown, where the crops are grown, and the nutritional differences in terms of how many antioxidants are present and how little pesticide residue is left on the foods.

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