You may know about the health benefits of organically-grown foods. But have you considered the positive effects that these foods have on farmers and their communities?
We’ve all done it in the grocery store. We’ve held a non-organic tomato in one hand and an organic tomato in the other and we’ve asked ourselves: “What difference can one tomato make to me?” And, as a result, we often go with the non-organic choice because of its lower price.
But organic foods are about more than just our own health. Buying organic is also about the health of farmers and farm communities – the people who grow the food that we consume every day.
“Buying organic is also about the health of farmers and farm communities – the people who grow the food that we consume every day.”
A Rural Community Member’s Story
Ann purchased a humble farm home, which sat on 200 acres of rural land. But, as a single mother, Ann couldn’t afford to buy the house as well as the large property. A deal was struck; Ann bought the house, and the surrounding property was sold to another buyer.
“Where there are non-organic potatoes, there are pesticides.”
Over the years, the land surrounding Ann’s home was converted to non-organic potato production. Ann’s home now sits on a tiny lot surrounded on all sides by acres of non-organic potatoes. And where there are non-organic potatoes, there are pesticides.
Throughout the potato growing season, large sprayers surround Ann’s home upwards of ten times per season. Ann does her best to limit her contact with the pesticides, but the health of Ann’s dogs reminds her of her worries.
The dogs are both ill; one has serious breathing problems, and the other has a large inoperable tumor. Ann admits that there may not be a link between her dogs’ problems and the family’s proximity to pesticides, but she worries about the effects nonetheless.
An Agricultural Farmer’s Story
When Ann finally mustered the courage to speak with the farmer about her worries, she discovered that the farmer is not the antagonist of this article. The farmer was a kind man trying to make a living to feed his family. Was he worried about his own health? Yes. Would he consider switching to organic farming? Absolutely.
“Farmers from many countries tend to experience higher rates than the general population for a variety of cancers.”
According to an American cancer research, farmers from many countries tend to experience higher rates than the general population for a variety of cancers. The farmer Ann spoke with was aware of the health risks, but he confided that he felt caught between a rock and a hard place.
The farmer has buyers lined up for his large scale non-organic potato production, but no buyers for large-scale organic potato production. He feels that consumer demand doesn’t yet exist for him to take the financial risk of switching to organic farming.
Organics and You
So the next time you find yourself in the produce aisle, consider your own health and the health of farmers and their communities.
Think of a future where no farmer has to compromise his health in order to put food on our tables. Envision a future where there isn’t a choice between organic or non-organic. A future where all foods are grown in a safe and responsible manner for everyone involved.
The first step towards this future is simple. It starts when you compare two tomatoes in the produce aisle.
Which one will you choose?