I’ve always tried to eat what I thought was healthy. Fruits and veggies are a staple in my family’s diet. I would love for us to eat nothing but organic foods but the produce and is so damned expensive. I’ve often wondered (never researched until now) why? My husband and I have had this conversation in passing multiple times. Asking ourselves, wouldn’t you think since the farms, in theory, do not use pesticides or other chemicals such as growth hormones (what is the deal with GMOs?), fertilizers, etc. the fruits and vegetables would cost less to grow and cultivate? As I put that on paper (my screen) I think to myself is the reason because of the natural growth and “not being messed with” environment, does that mean the likeliness of having a less amount flourish? I’ve set to find out and squash this wonder we’ve wondered for so long.
I can’t be the only one who asked myself this, so I hope this next section will answer all your questions about “Why the hell “organic” is so expensive?” And now we can all sleep at night. 😉
Conventional farmers use all of those chemicals and synthetic pesticides because they end up reducing the cost of production by getting the job done faster and more efficiently. Without them, organic farmers have to hire more workers for tasks like hand-weeding, cleanup of polluted water, and the remediation of pesticide contamination.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation explained it well: “The organic price tag more closely reflects the true cost of growing the food: substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals, the health and environmental costs of which are borne by society.”
2. Demand overwhelms supply
Retail sales of organic food rose from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $21.1 billion in 2008, according to the USDA, and 58 percent of Americans claim they prefer to eat organic over non-organic food. However, organic farmland only accounts for 0.9 percent of total worldwide farmland, and organic farms tend to produce less than conventional farms. Conventional farms have the farmland and the supply to keep costs down since manufacturers are able to reduce costs when producing a product in larger quantities.
3. Higher cost of fertilizer for organic crops
Sewage sludge and chemical fertilizers might not be something you want in your food, but conventional farmers use them because they don’t cost much and are cheap to transport. Organic farmers eschew these inexpensive solutions in order to keep their crops natural and instead use compost and animal manure, which is more expensive to ship.
4. Crop rotation
Instead of using chemical weed-killers, organic farmers conduct sophisticated crop rotations to keep their soil healthy and prevent weed growth. After harvesting a crop, an organic farmer may use that area to grow “cover crops,” which add nitrogen to the soil to benefit succeeding crops.
Conventional farmers, on the other hand, can use every acre to grow the most profitable crops. Because crop rotation reduces the frequency in which organic farmers can grow profitable crops, they’re unable to produce the larger quantities that are most cost-effective for conventional farmers.
5. Post-harvest handling cost
In order to avoid cross-contamination, organic produce must be separated from conventional produce after being harvested. Conventional crops are shipped in larger quantities since conventional farms are able to produce more. Organic crops, however, are handled and shipped in smaller quantities since organic farms tend to produce less, and this results in higher costs. Additionally, organic farms are usually located farther from major cities, increasing the shipping cost.
6. Organic certification
Acquiring USDA organic certification is no easy — or cheap — task. In addition to the usual farming operations, farm facilities and production methods must comply with certain standards, which may require the modification of facilities. Employees must be hired to maintain strict daily record-keeping that must be available for inspection at any time. And organic farms must pay an annual inspection/certification fee, which starts at $400 to $2,000 a year, depending on the agency and the size of the operation.
7. Cost of covering higher loss
Conventional farmers use certain chemicals to reduce their loss of crops. For example, synthetic pesticides repel insects and antibiotics maintain the health of the livestock. Since organic farmers don’t use these, their losses are higher, which costs the farmer more and increases the cost to the consumer. Additionally, without all the chemical preservatives added to conventional foods, organic foods face a shorter storage time and shelf life.
8. Better living conditions for livestock
Higher standards for animal welfare also means more costs for organic farms. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, organic feed for cattle and other livestock can cost twice as much as conventional feed.
9. Organic food grows more slowly
Time is money. Not only are organic farms typically smaller than conventional ones, but they also, on average, take more time to produce crops because they refrain from using the chemicals and growth hormones used by conventional farmers.
Production-oriented government subsidies reduce the overall cost of crops. In 2008, mandatory spending on farm subsidies was $7.5 billion while programs for organic and local foods only received $15 million, according to the House Appropriations Committee.
Until then, try to get most of your organic food from farmers markets. You’ll be supporting local farmers and purchasing the food at a reduced price since you’re cutting out the middle-man retailer. Check out LocalHarvest.org. You can plug in your city or zip code and get a list of all of the farmers markets in your area.
It’s also important to note that you don’t need to buy all foods organic. The Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides has a “Clean 15” list of the 15 types of produce lowest in pesticides. Save your money for the other organic produce and buy the conventional versions of these:
9.Cantaloupe — domestic
The preceding post was derived from www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/03/11/10-reasons-organic-food-is-so-expensive/ without whom I’d still be “Googling”
While I feel better in knowing that the prices are justified if you can afford it, I still want to have my own garden. I will post plans on how to arrange an awesome garden in your own yard. No matter the size. In “Jessi” fashion I will give you the complete details from the plans, to the costs, to the tutorial! Check back for that. Problem solved. No need to concern ourselves with how the hell expensive “organic” is anymore. We’ve got our own organic”ness”. Eat that, overpriced produce! Hehe. I’m getting ahead of myself but I’m super excited about it.
Here’s a list of all 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue data in order from least to most…
Let me just say, I don’t know of anyone who’s gotten sick or died from eating non-organic produce (Im not touching the meat topic…not today…LOL) not to say it hasn’t happened but I’m happy as a pig in shit ANY time I see a kid choosing fruits and vegetables over some other garbage like Goldfish or the like. I say choose but really YOU decide what your kid’s eat so A+++ for those who are teaching your children a healthy lifestyle at a young age. (A whole other post can be written about that too!)