Organically Grown vs. Chemically Grown Foods
                                                                                        by Laurie Lynch, ND  

People continually ask me about organically grown foods and why they are more expensive than conventionally grown, when they don't
have all the expensive chemicals added.  So let's compare the two growing methods on costs to the consumer, costs to the producer, soil
quality, nutritional value, toxicity, and taste.

 Cost to the consumer
Each individual organic item might be more expensive, however, if you compare your average grocery bill for a week of conventionally
grown foods with a week's worth of the organic foods that I recommend, you can actually save money. For example, a family of three
reported normally spending $200.00 per week, but when they followed my food recommendations, they reported saving $50.00 a week.
When these dietary changes are continued, general health increases and medical expenses decrease or disappear.

Costs to the producer
Organically grown foods may require more labor costs at first, but nutrient replacement and pest control are less expensive because
chemicals are not used. Research studies showed that crop yield often started out 20% lower, but increased over time as soil improves
and pests decline. Ecological and efficiency improvements more than made up for initial lower yields. In the long term, the organic
approach produced more food with less energy and resources.  Much of conventional agriculture is subsidized by the government to help
defray the chemical costs. (chemical companies have ways of influencing government spending and policy)

 Soil quality                                                                                                                                                                                                        A 21-year study comparing organic and conventional farming found improved quality of the soil under organic cultivation. Organic soils
contain more organic matter, nitrogen, minerals, and other nutrients, more biodiversity, and far more earthworms and beneficial micro-
organisms that help plants absorb more water and nutrients, and protect against pests and pathogens. Organically grown foods, in order
 to be certified organic, must be grown in soil that has had the necessary nutrients added back.   Conventional factory farming practices
have left soil depleted of minerals and other nutrients, of beneficial micro-organisms, and of natural pest defenses. 


Studies show organically grown crops contain more minerals, vitamins, and other healthy compounds than conventional crops. For example, tests on organically grown berries and corn showed they contain up to 58 percent more polyphenolics (natural antioxidants that help protect consumers against cell damage that can lead to heart disease and cancer). A 2005 Newcastle University report found that organically produced food had higher levels of specific antioxidants and lower mycotoxins than conventionally produced.  And an Australian study found that conventionally grown fruit and vegetables had ten times less mineral content than fruit and vegetables grown organically.


Governmental and scientific studies have shown a wide variety of health and environmental problems caused by the toxic effects of common agricultural chemicals. For example, conventional growing had 60% more nitrate leached into groundwater over a 5-year period than in the organic systems. Pesticides have been shown to deplete beneficial micro-organisms in the soil, increase harmful fungi, and cause pests to develop pesticide resistance leading to more pesticide use.

Agricultural chemicals can accumulate in the soil, in the food we eat, and in our bodies, and combine with other chemicals leading to chronic illnesses, such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, hormone and reproductive damage, birth defects, cancer, brain and nervous system damage, behavioral abnormalities, skin diseases, lung and respiratory problems, and other gland and organ damage. Children, the chronically ill, and the elderly are at greatest risk of pesticide poisoning.  A  1999, Consumers Union study found that conventionally grown peaches, winter squash, apples, grapes, spinach, pears, and green beans had some of the highest Toxicity Index ratings, and therefore, recommended purchasing these foods organically grown

Conventionally grown foods may also use any of the following harmful practices:                                                                  
*  Genetically engineering
uses tumor-causing bacteria and pathogenic viruses, scrambles DNA, and increases toxic chemicals in our food and in our bodies.
 * Toxic sewage sludge and industrial wastes (called "biosolids") are often in commercial potting soil and spread on farmlands.
* "Animal Cannibalisin" (feeding livestock diseased and waste animal body parts, offal, and blood) is often used (a cause of "Mad Cow Disease").  
* Food Irradiation (using radioactive nuclear wastes to "kill bacteria" and prolong the shelf life of food) was approved "despite 50 years’ worth of research documenting serious health problems in laboratory tests, such as premature death, mutation, prenatal death and other reproductive problems, fatal internal bleeding, suppressed immune systems, organ damage, tumors, birth defects, stunted growth and nutritional deficiencies.  Another study shows that peroxidation of lipids by irradiation produces known carcinogens, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease, says Cancer Research Scientist. G. L Tritsch.

Organic food is grown without synthetic chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  Organic farming critics say using manure can cause health problems, but untreated manure is not allowed in certified organic agriculture. The treated manure (composted) used in organic farming provides necessary nutrients for the crops, and is safe (composting process kills harmful pathogens). Organic growing can actually reduce soil toxicity caused by chemical growing.                                                                                                             

Taste  -   A 2001 Washington apple study rated organic growing techniques higher in taste, texture, and firmness compared to those of conventional farming.  Case studies of organic practices show dramatic reduction in pests and diseases, increases in yields, soil quality, nutritional content, and organics just taste better!  Organics don't have to add the artificial chemical flavorings to make them taste good. Just compare a conventionally grown tomato to a fresh picked organic tomato and taste the difference.  Here's an example:


TOMATOES, diced                                                                    CUCUMBERS, thinly sliced

ZUCCHINI, grated                                                                      BASIL, GREEN ONIONS, and/or PARSLEY, finely chopped

Top with LEMON JUICE, freshly squeezed, OLIVE OIL, and BRAGG'S AMINOS


      Copyright © Laurie Lynch, N.D., 2008-2011