Why Choose Organic?
Choosing organic food is a simple and effective way to set your child up for success. Here’s why:
What makes food organic?
The difference between organic and conventional food starts way before it’s priced at the supermarket — it begins in food production. For a food to be certified “organic” by the USDA, it must be produced without:
- Synthetic (human-made) fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides
- Antibiotics or growth hormones
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
Why is this important for your kids and the environment?
Developing bodies and minds:
Although the pros and cons of organic food are often debated, one fact remains: when you eat organic produce, you have fewer pesticides in your body. While people of all ages can benefit from less chemical exposure, babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of pesticides because their body systems (e.g., immune system, digestive system) and brains are still developing.
Higher nutritional value:
Nutrient content is another important component of growing strong bodies and minds. Even though organic and conventional produce may look the same, they’re very different in their makeup. In fact, studies have shown that organic dairy and meat can contain up to 50 percent more brain-boosting omega-3s and organically grown produce contains significantly higher levels of cell-protecting antioxidants. This means you’re actually getting more nutrition for your money.
Long term, choosing organic food helps protect our children’s future. Not only does organic food production reduce chemical, fertilizer, and pesticide runoff that damages water supplies and soil, but it also helps preserve natural ecosystems and reduce erosion. By choosing organic, we help protect the environment for our future movers, shakers, and world changers.
The Dirty Dozen
With all the things you’re juggling as a parent, worrying about buying only organic can be time-consuming and expensive. While eating organic produce is important, it’s not always accessible. So, how do you decide which conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are safe to buy and which to skip?
Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes their Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists in their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. These lists are an easy-to-digest — pun intended — snapshot of pesticide use in the United States. The Dirty Dozen list includes the fruits and vegetables that are most contaminated with pesticide residue and the Clean Fifteen includes those that are the least, according to USDA and FDA test data.
While you can always find the most up-to-date list on EWGs website, here is the Dirty Dozen list for 2019:
- Hot Peppers — added as an additional item in 2018, bringing the total to 13 and making it more of a baker’s Dirty Dozen.