What is so great about organic foods?

November 21, 2010 Comments Off on What is so great about organic foods?

What is so great about organic foods?

One word…honeybees.

Living in cities, we don’t often realize how important bees are to the cycle of food production.  If we listen to the grade school children in our neighbourhood, they will tell us, with confidence, that, “Honey bees pollinate the flowers!  And that means that the flowers will be able to have more flowers for next year.”  Well it’s not just the flowers: most crops that our farmers grow for us are dependant on insects for pollination.  The loss of bees would change the world.

According to The Edmonton Journal, “Over the past three years, more than 50 billion honeybees have died. Scientists understand the causes and now we need everyone to lend a helping hand.”  The article goes on to explain that, “Each year 2.3 billion kilograms of pesticides are applied globally. Many are neonicitinoids, a nerve poison that prevents acetylcholine from allowing neurons to communicate with each other and muscle tissue. In humans, it would trigger Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.  Imidacloprid (one form of neonicitinoids) is manufactured by Bayer under the trade names of Gaucho and Pancho. It killed millions of bees in France and Germany (The Bayer’s home country) before eventually being banned there, yet it’s still used widely in North America.” (Edmonton Journal, January 15, 2010)

I am not a scientist.  It is generally believed that many factors are responsible for the decline, including global warming and bee mites.  However, at this point, the science is unproven.  I will not tell you that it is only the pesticides; perhaps the pesticides simply weaken the bees enough that the other stresses in their world put them over the edge.

Industrial agriculture’s first line of defense against eating organic is that the science has not proven that organic foods are better for us.  But, if some of these pesticides prevent neurons from talking to each other in insects, why would we believe that this same pesticide residues would have no harmful effects on humans?  There was a point during WWII where soldiers were given DDT powder to dust inside their uniforms to kill lice.  Agent Orange in Vietnam?  DEET?  Roundup resistant weeds?  The list of previously “safe” pesticides continues to grow.

But wait.  Once the nay-sayers accept that organic foods may actually be better for us, then the next line of defense is:

“We couldn’t possibly feed every one on the planet without factory farming”.  Without growth hormones, without roundup resistant crops, without pesticides.  These major corporations are not doing what is in the best interest of the planet, our health.  They are doing what is in the best interest of their shareholders, and that is the bottom line  That is what is most important.  Right?

At  A Bread Affair, we only use certified organic honey.  It comes to us from Wolfe Honey in Guy, Alberta.  The bakery team uses it in the teas that they drink as well as in some of our breads and cakes and cookies that are sweetened with honey.

A Bread Affair hopes that you will want to take part in the solutions, rather than being blind to the concern.  Organic food does not have pesticides applied to them in any way.  It may not be the entire answer, but it is likely to be a part of the solution.

The next time you are at the supermarket, think about your choice.  Organic, or non-organic.  One teaspoon of honey weighing 21 grams contains 16 grams of sugar or 60 calories, and it took 12 bees their entire foraging lives; a combined flying time of almost 10,000 kms.

Think of the honeybees.

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