Kew Beach Naturopathic Clinic

Putting the "care" back in healthcare

Is Organic More Expensive?

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By Helena Ovens, ND

If you compare price tags between organic and conventional products, organic may seem like it is the more expensive option, however, we need to take a closer look at the “back-end” and the long-term social, economic, political and environmental costs.

True costs of conventional agriculture

Consumers often subsidize the growing of non-organic food. Non-organic industrial agriculture has been subsidized $25 billion dollars in the U.S.A.  Organic food is not subsidized. Agricultural land is becoming non-viable for growing because the chemicals and artificial fertilizers have been applied to American and Canadian soil for far too long. In Canada, it was estimated that soil depletion has cost $2 billion per year (Science Council of Canada, 1986).

Health care cost

Land, water and air continues to be polluted by chemical pesticides. This agricultural pollution affects the environment and our health. Mt. Sinai School of Medicine physician Philip Landrigan says: “the range of these adverse health effects include acute and persistent injury to: birth defects, the nervous system, lung damage, injury to reproductive organs, dysfunction of the immune and endocrine systems, and cancer”. The health effects of pesticides on both farm workers and consumers place a burden on our health care system. Additionally, the burden of environmental remediation falls on the government and tax payers.

Climate change/Global warming

Conventional agriculture practices mono-cultures and depletes the soil of organic matter through the use of chemical fossil fuel-based fertilizers. Organic agriculture, on the other hand, grows cover crops, uses composted manures, and manages soil fertility with crop rotation. Rodale’s Farming Systems Trial has documented that organic soils actually scrub the atmosphere of global warming gases by capturing the carbon dioxide and converting it into soil material.

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