You’ve probably heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But what it fails to mention is whether or not that apple… should be organic!
With an increase in Canadians wanting to eat fresh and local goods, the momentum is building for more access to organic foods in Canada.
But with minimal research on health benefits of organic over conventional goods, and the added expense at the till, what does the future hold for the Organic Food Industry in Canada?
LISTEN: The future of organic foods
The organic market in Canada was worth over $4-billion last year. And with an increase in awareness and a demand for organic meats, veggies, and dairy, the organic industry in Canada is booming.
In 2015, B.C. was the strongest organic market in the country, with 66 per cent of British Columbians buying organic groceries every week.
So what does it mean to be organic?
The Canada Organic Trade Association tells it like this:
“The Canada Organic Trade Association – Organic meets all health food and safety laws, and is also inspected to organic standards. Making organic the most regulated food in Canada. Organic means safe, natural practices that protect and nourish ourselves, and our environment. Organic food is great tasting and nutritious. It reduces our exposure to pesticides and GMO’s. Animals are raised without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or synthetic hormones. It’s healthy for soil, plants and animals. And reduces our carbon footprint.”
Organic farmers rely on techniques such as crop rotation, companion planting, and soil and weed management in order to grow successful crops, without the addition of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Organic farming is healthy for soil, plants and animals but do these farming techniques ensure that organic foods are healthier for you?
Speaking to Global News, SFU plant biologist Dr. Zamir Punja, says nutrition value might not be that different between organic and non-organic.
“The studies show there is no difference between the certified organic and non-certified organic. There is also no evidence, yet, to suggest there is a difference between conventional farming and organic farming when it comes to nutrition.”
The organic product may not be any more nutritious than its conventional counterpart, but it is farmed without the use of chemical pesticides, antibiotics and GMO’s, so does that make a difference?
It’s estimated that switching out your conventionally grown produce with organic is going to cost you about 20-40 per cent more when you look down at your grocery bill.
So can the organic farming community win you over?
With over 650 B.C farms that produce, or are transitioning to produce certified organic goods, it’s easy to say that there is a growing demand for organic.
But with Organic products being more expensive and the debate over GMO’s and pesticides ongoing, there is still some resistance to adopting a strict organic diet.
Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians are beginning to purchase organic products on a weekly basis, so it might be just a matter of time to when we refer to conventional farming and organic farming as the same thing.