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Organic Food

Organic food is making appearances in magazines, newspapers, 5 star kitchens and even supermarkets. But little is known about what does organic food mean and how it is produced. Here’s a little brief to understand organic food better.

Understanding Organic Food

Traditionally the crops which are grown by farmers are exposed to chemicals in various ways. The farmer applies chemical fertiliser to the soil to make it more robust. To protect the crops from pests and diseases, insecticides are sprayed. Lastly, herbicides are used to remove unwanted weeds from the farms. According to studies, these pesticides are present in the food we consume on a daily basis. These chemical pesticides are highly unsafe for children and foetuses and are known to cause small ailments like headaches to life threatening diseases like cancer among adults. Thus, traditionally grown vegetables, fruits and grains are artificially treated and not the best option for your health.

In contrast to these traditional methods, organic farming involves using enriched chemical free soil. The focus is on growing a healthier crop which can defend itself better against diseases. Moreover, organic farmers use cover crops, undertake hand weeding and rely on crop rotation to minimise the impact of pests and weeds. Insect predators like birds are encouraged to protect the crops from pests and diseases.

Thus, organic food and products are grown and processed without the use of synthetic products such as chemical fertilisers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. Organic Food is also not genetically modified in any way. If the product is derived from an animal, then the animal is fed organic food and is free from antibiotics and growth hormones.

In other words, organic fruits and vegetables are grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, sewage sludge, genetic modification and ionising radiation. Organic food should not be confused with natural food. Natural food refers to food items that have undergone minimal processing. They may or may not be organic in nature.

Organic Food do cost more than the standard produce available locally but the flavours are far better and the real value is in knowing the food you are putting into your body has been exposed to least amount of chemicals. Furthermore organic farming is great for the environment as well as the quality of soil improves and the water bodies are saved from chemical contamination.

In simple words, organic food is healthy and safe for you and your future generations!

NOTE:

  • Organic produce is known to look more plain and less shiny (because lack of use of fertilizers which make produce look more robust)
  • Organic produce do not conform to standard vegetable and fruit shapes and sizes. There are sometimes irregularities in the form or shape of Organic produce.
  • Organic produce is sometimes known to have bugs or pests which on the rare occasion cannot be detected in the sorting and grading process.

Organic Certified Farms

Since organic farming excludes the use of chemicals, they are better for the environment. Organic farming methods improve the soil fertility and maintain the balance of components in the land and water bodies near the farms. Organic farmers put in more efforts such as undertaking physical weed control and producing green manure. To ensure that real organic products reach the customers, organic farms apply for certifications that ensure that their produce is 100% organic.

In India, INDOCERT is a nationally and internationally operating, certification body which offers Organic certification as per USDA-NOP standards for products destined for export to the United States. "Certified Organic" assures that products were produced and/or processed under conditions required by National Standards and/or international standards for Organic Production. INDOCERT inspects organic farms once every year. Thus, once a farm or farmer has entered the INDOCERT certification system, they must apply for annual inspection to maintain your certification status.

Organic Farm to Home procures produce from INDOCERT Certified Organic Farms. Thus, every farmer associated with us has systematic records of all farm activities (sowing, intercultural operations, fertilization, plant protection, harvest, purchase, sales and processing) along with the supporting vouchers / bills which are a proof of his/her organic farming activity.

Internationally, Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) is also a corporate body engaged in inspection, testing and organic certification (verification) services. SGS also certifies farms in India. When SGS gives the ‘Organic Certification’ to a product, they certify the product as chemical free and grown organically as per the standard laid down. Moreover, they also cover the sustainability issue, environmental aspects, social aspects etc. Organic Farm to Home has contracted a 36 acre farm in Sohna Belt to procure fresh vegetables and fruits daily! This farm is certified by Indocert. OFH also procures from farms in Sonipat which are certified by SGS. Organic Farm to Home is also certified to supply organic produce based on a successful aufit of its distribution facility and verification of the farm from which organic produce is procured!

Since Organic Farm to Home has both INDOCERT and SGS certified products, our customers are reassured that the organic integrity of produce from the farm to their homes is maintained. To see our Organic Certificate please click on the "Certification" Tab on the bottom of the Home Page!!

Health Benefits

Today, diseases are more rampant than they have been in the past. Living a healthy life is everyone’s agenda and that’s why yoga, clean eating, gym, workouts, etc. have gained importance in our lives. What we fail to realise is that the food we consume may be the source of multiple diseases.!

Most fresh fruits and vegetables available in the market are loaded with pesticides and fungicides. From asthma attacks to abnormal hormonal levels, a lot can be credited to these dangerous pesticides that are consumed by us.!

Reference article: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-26/diet/31572131_1_bovine-growth-hormone- organic-milk-fungicide

In contrast, organic food is pure, natural and safe to consume. It is about 25% more nutritious and is free from pesticide residue. The taste of organic fruits and vegetables is often superior to any conventional produce. That's why many top restaurants across the globe use organic produce in their menu.

Paying a premium for organic food

Many argue that organic food is expensive when compared to non-organic produce in your local supermarket. But when it comes to health, you really cannot put a price tag on food which enriches your body instead of harming it.

The cost of organic food is higher than that of conventional food because the organic price tag reflects the true cost of growing the food. Firstly, organic farming is more labour intensive; hence the cost of production is a little higher. Organic farms also invest to enrich the soil by using natural methods like crop rotation, vermi composting and using natural manure like cow dung, agricultural waste and natural pesticides. It also takes about 3 years for a farm to be fit to produce 100% organic produce. Thus, the time period to convert any farm land into organic is also a long process.

That’s not all. Organic farms have to also maintain certain standards, meet strict regulations and apply for renewal of organic certifications each year. Plus, they have to ensure that they do not harm the environment in any way during their production cycle.

Thus, at each stage, the cost of growing organic food is more. But at the same time when you buy the final product, you are guaranteed a fresh and healthy product. Always remember, every time you buy organic, you are persuading more farmers to grow organic, which in the long run will be beneficial to the society at large.