There was a time (not too long back) when it used to be relegated somewhere on the back shelves on the supermarket counter. Today, if you are the health conscious kind, chances are you’ll reach for it first. So will, perhaps, your neighbour, your boss, and that cute kid on the block.
Welcome to the world of Organic.
So what exactly is organic?
First things first. What exactly does the term ‘organic’ mean? Is it just the flavour of the season? The buzz of the month on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram? Or is there more to it than that? Well, the Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) clarifies the issue. It says, ‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.’
It all begins at the farm.
The organic universe is amongst the most monitored and regulated on our planet. Globally, the standards for organic food and products are set by the FAO / WHO. And it all begins at the farm, where food growers follow the principles of organic farming by…
- Using far less chemicals – by way of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides;
- Paying close attention to soil health – by adopting practises like crop rotation, dense planting, hand weeding, cover crops and mechanical control;
- Staying away from practices like sewage sludge and irradiation.
Spotting organic in a crowd
So how do you know that the packet of Arhal dal on that e-commerce website or those shiny tomatoes sitting on the neighbourhood grocery shelves are truly ‘organic’? Check the label. For a ‘composite food’ to be labelled ‘organic’, at least 95% of its constituents must be derived from organic sources or organically grown plants and animals. Cool buying tip? Look for the term ‘Soil Association’.
Why exactly are organic food and products considered better?
- For one thing, your body loves it. Bring free from chemicals, organic food is a great way of ‘detoxifying’ your system.
- As it is grown on better soil and under more natural conditions, organic food is carries more of the natural goodness of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and micro-nutrients – and helps build better health and immune system.
- With better soil and growth conditions comes enhanced appearance and better taste as well.
- Organic food protects you from terminal illnesses such as cancer, as it is devoid of carcinogenic substances.
- Organic food is associated with greater innovation and variety, and makes for amazing choices at the buffet table!
- Organic practises are great for the planet too, as they ensure that the environment stays in healthier shape, check the spread of infectious diseases, reduce air and water pollution, and curb soil erosion.
- When we endorse an organic ‘thinking’ in everything we do, we embrace our country’s centuries-old indigenous traditions of cultivation. This creates opportunities and jobs by supporting rural farming communities, which goes to boost our economy.
- Finally, an organic lifestyle is also a more humane one: It lets animals and livestock grow in natural, free conditions – and prohibits the use of antibiotic medication, synthetic hormones, genetic modifications and drugs.
The future of organic looks bright
And not just globally, but in India, too. The Indian government’s National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) is going all out to promote the culture and adoption of organic food across the country. NPOP’s standards are recognized in Europe and USA as well.
Add to that India’s vast geographical spread, rich soil & bio diversity, and historical traditions of organic farming – and you realize why we are well on our way to becoming an organic superpower.
What does that mean for you? Simple: Easier access, more choices, unique innovations, healthier lifestyles and happier lives. Yes, the age of organic goodness has arrived.
Have you made the switch yet?