Are you concerned with your health, food safety or the pollution of the environment?
Whatever the motivation, more and more people are choosing organic food for themselves and their families.
So what is organic food?
If a food item is labeled “organic” according to the regulations of the USDA's National Organic Program, it needs to contain at least 95% organic ingredients. These have to be grown without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers or untreated sewage sludge (some countries allow this). They can't be sprayed with pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. And definitely no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs} If animal products, they can't contain any growth hormones or antibiotics.
When I was a kid in a farm community in Germany at the end of the big war, all food was organic. There was nothing else. Chemical fertilizers only showed up about 5 years later and were used very heavily then. Why? Because they are very effective in boosting the crops – for a while.
OK then, what is wrong with them?
They slowly destroy the life in the ground. Healthy soil contains living microbes, bacteria, earth worms and other insects who live on decaying organic matter in the soil and through their life functions enhance it and provide the nutrient for plants to thrive. Continued application of chemical fertilizers will kill all life in the soil and make it sterile.
On top of that, nitrates and phosphorous leach through the earth and contaminate the ground water or get washed into creeks to eventually reach a lake or the ocean. The nutrient over rich water will then cause algae blooms which, in decaying, use up most of the oxygen in the water, making it unlivable for fish. Witness the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by this phenomena.
The solution is to go organic and this movement is gaining momentum.
As more and more people join the trend, they have the choice of -
three different sources of organic food:
1. They can go to a grocery store and buy it.
2. They can grow their own organic garden.
3. They can gather organic wild plants, berries and mushrooms.
It is this last source that I will mainly focus on in this website.
Foraging for wild food is not only profitable, it is also a lot of fun and gives you a very healthy and very organic bunch of very tasty greens and berries. Just make sure you gather your stuff from uncontaminated sites.
So let's examine why we should eat organic food.