This website is designed to journal my adventures to pursue an organic and green lifestyle on Cape Cod. My hope is that it inspires and educates others to live a greener, more sustainable life to preserve the beauty and natural resources provided by Mother Nature. We live on top of our water supply on Cape Cod from the Bridges to Provincetown. There are organic farmers, organic gardeners and several small (and some larger) businesses providing organic products and green services. We are so fortunate to have such a diverse community of people sharing a common purpose. For those visiting this website who are asking "Why go organic?"
1) ORGANIC FARMING = ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
Soil is the foundation of the food chain and the primary focus on organic farming.
By building healthy soil, plants are better able to resist disease and insects. Each small piece of living soil contains thousands of microorganisms which help retain water and provide nutrients to the plants. Organic farmers foster soil fertility. Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticides and minimizing agriculture's impact on the environment. Organic farming production practices include: composting, cover cropping (green manure), use of beneficial insects, crop rotation and diversification, botanical and biological pest control, cultural and mechanical weed control and utilize close observation of natural soil, plant and wildlife systems. Organic agriculture represents the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem. When we buy organic produce, we are helping farmers build a healthy environment for wildlife. Organic farming practices promote biodiversity.
2) KEEP CHEMICALS OFF YOUR PLATE
Corporate farming (aka factory farms or agribusiness) practices the farming method of mono-cropping. Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. This approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970. However, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often increasing amounts. Mono-cropping is also more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled, partly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.
Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established. Now the EPA considers 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides carcinogenic. In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.
The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms.
75,000 chemicals are licensed for use in the U.S. Everyone in the U.S. permanently carries more than 300 chemical pollutants, pesticides and toxic metals in their organs and tissues: 300 synthetic chemicals acquired from foods, drugs and personal care products - the combined effect of these chemicals is entirely unknown.
3) PROTECT WATER QUALITY
Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-fourths of the planet. The EPA estimates pesticides contaminate the groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country's population. Chemical-intensive agricultural practices result in soil so lacking in nutrients that it requires large amounts of fertilizer. Reduced organic matter diminishes the soil's ability to retain moisture. The result is expensive irrigation using large amounts of water. The resulting runoff takes the soil and the chemicals with it. "Sediment loading" in streams is a major factor in the decline of our fish population. One third of all fish species nationwide are threatened or endangered.
The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, coupled with soil-building efforts, protects and conserves water resources from nitrogen contamination and sediment loading. Organic farming practices requires less water because the humus in its living soil retains moisture.
4) SAVE ENERGY
Corporate farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming 12% of the country's total energy supply. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest ALL the crops in the United States.
5) SUPPORT A TRUE ECONOMY
Conventional food prices do not reflect hidden costs born by taxpayers, including nearly $74 billion annually in federal subsidies. The majority of these subsidies benefit corporate farming and only a small percentage subsidizes organic farming practices. Other hidden costs of conventional food prices include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and cleanup and environmental damage.
6) CERTIFIED ORGANIC PRODUCTS CARRY A GUARANTEE
Starting in 1996, all food products labeled organic must be in compliance with the US Organic Law. Certification is the public's guarantee that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without toxic chemical inputs. Farmers and processors alike must keep detailed records. All practices and procedures are annually inspected by a third-party certifier. All farms and handlers are required to maintain organic management plans. No prohibited substances are applied to the land on which organic food is grown for at least three years. The term "all natural" on products is not equivalent to "organic". Look for the USDA seal on organic products.
US government regulations allow the use of sewer sludge as a fertilizer on conventional farms, despite the concerns about contamination of heavy minerals, dioxins and other chemicals. Organic standards permit only the use of composted manure, crop residues, green manures, cover crops and rock powders to feed plants.
Organic standards prohibit the use of ionizing radiation to preserve food, while the US government allows it on conventional grown food. Irradiation proponents say it extends shelf life and kills microbes which may spoil food and cause illness. Opponents say it also kills enzymes, vitamins and healthfulness of of food.
7) ORGANIC FOOD CONTAINS NO GENETICALLY-MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMO'S)
No independent long-term safety testing is required of genetically-modified organisms (seeds). Firms which will benefit from the seed/food production are in charge of the testing. The United States Government does not independently challenge these tests for consumer safety. These firms are not required to report negative findings. The test results are considered "proprietary" since the seeds are "patented". Because these genetically-modified organisms (seeds) are patented they are not available for public scrutiny. There has been no significant evaluation of the technology for ecological impact, human impact and no required consumer labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods. It is estimated that 70-80% of processed foods in our supermarkets contain genetically-modified ingredients.
8) ORGANIC FOOD TASTES GREAT!
It's simply good, old-fashioned, common sense that well-balanced soils grow strong, healthy plants. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which eventually leads to the nourishment of the plant and ultimately to our palates. Several recent studies indicate that organic foods may contain more nutrients as well. We get delicious, nutritious foods when we buy certified organic products. Buying organic is an everyday practice that is also good for Mother Earth!
We vote with our dollar...
YOUR DOLLAR ~ YOUR CHOICE!
YOUR DOLLAR ~ YOUR CHOICE!