Organic Food and the Environment

But even when it comes to protecting the planet, some health professionals say the “organic” label has lost its original usefulness. Organic food standards do limit antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, and synthetic pesticides, but none of this means that organic farming is healthier for you or the planet. 

First off, mega-farms—such as those that supply stores like Walmart—follow the rules about growing organic food, but may not tend to the soil with the same care as a farmer living on the land.

Plus organic standards allow for the use of organic pesticides, some of which may be just as dangerous as synthetic ones.

So a better question than organic vs. conventional, says Daphne Miller, M.D., family physician and author of the upcoming book, Farmacology: What Innovative Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing, is: “If I eat fruits and vegetables that are sustainably grown, is that going to be healthier for me—and healthier for the planet?” 

For farmers who grow sustainably, it goes beyond a focus on avoiding fertilizers and pesticides—as with organic food—and looks at the long-term health of the soil. 

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