Let's talk about organic foods

Conventional farming and food production practices in this country are creating serious environmental and public health problems. Every day, an industrial farming system spinning out of control confronts all Ireland with serious challenges. Among these are the explosion in toxic algae blooms in sensitive waterways, cancer-causing pesticides on foods we feed our children, the rapid spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and of course contaminated drinking water, all courtesy of corporate agribusiness.

Thankfully, we have an alternative: organic.

Study after study shows organic food is better for our health, and organic farming is better for our environment. Organic milk has higher concentrations of beneficial nutrients than its conventional counterpart, and organic foods can have higher levels of antioxidants and far fewer if any, pesticide residues than conventionally grown crops.

In addition to the notable consumer benefits, organic farming consumes far less energy and can reduce water pollution, increase biodiversity, promote healthy soils and sequester significantly more carbon than conventional farming.

Despite years of double-digit growth, far outstripping that seen in the conventional food sector, the number of certified organic farms in Ireland are struggling to keep pace with soaring consumer demand. This has forced many organic food companies in Ireland to turn to foreign suppliers to meet customer demand.

There is no reason why we cannot be meeting the surging demand for organic foods here at home, growing and producing it ourselves. However, if we are going to grow more organic food in this country we will need more organic farmers. That means recruiting new farmers and helping existing farmers transition to organic.

Organic food as we know is not cheap but it is so healthy and full of goodness so it's so worth having good organic food we are the system.