Organic Gardening

I’ve read a number of studies recently which showed that organically grown fruits and vegetables tend to have significantly more phytonutrients, such as polyphenols and antioxidants.

Why is that significant?

For starters, both polyphenols (e.g. bioflavonoids, flavanols and pycnogenols) and antioxidants protect people and plants. In the case of plants, the current thinking is that antioxidants are produced in order to protect against attacking pests and to shorten the healing process. They are nature’s elegant solution to a potential imbalance.

Conventionally grown plants and vegetables, on the other hand, are regularly treated with pesticides (insecticides, fungicides and herbicides). In an attempt to increase crop yields while reducing effort, farmer’s introduce these typically manmade substances just as a medical doctor would inject a chickenpox vaccine into a child’s arm with the hopes of reducing the likelihood of sparing the child from the struggle with chickenpox.

Unfortunately, we’ve discovered over time that these initially promising pesticides end up blocking a plant’s ability to produce the valuable polyphenols and antioxidants. The pesticides make farming demonstrably less labor-instensive, but the downside is that plants are essentially weaker and less able to ward off pests without the polyphenols and antioxidants in their systems.

So, the plants are weaker because of this intervention, but what about us? Remember, antioxidants protect plants and people. We, as consumers of these now less-nutritious fruits and vegetables, are also weakened over time. There are, of course, ways to increase your antioxidant uptake using dietary supplements, but that is a temporary fix to a worsening, compounding and cascading problem.

One of the solutions available at the moment is to source your fruits and vegetables from local organic farms, if possible. You can also ask for a better selection of certified organic produce, meat and dairy at your favorite grocery store. Every time you spend a dollar on food you shape the future of the food industry; you need not be or know a well-heeled lobbyist in Washington to influence industry practice or governmental policy on this front. You vote each and every day.

You may also consider starting a small organic garden. You needn’t be a wealthy landowner to get started. You need not even be in the country. There are many opportunities for organic gardening, if not homesteading right where you are. The resources are likely there, it really is more a matter of interest than anything.

As a father of two young boys who is deeply concerned about the present vector upon which government, society and environment are tracking in the 21st century, I cannot help but think we have some serious work to do to get back on the path of a more sustainable approach to human development.

6 thoughts on “Organic Gardening

  1. If you plan to have an organic gardening, that was a good idea! Because in organic gardening, you will have a perfect sense when it comes to your household dinners and definitely protect your family from toxic pesticide. Thanks a lot for posting this article!


  2. Brenda Ruppright

    I decided this year to do some container gardening. I just have one cherry tomato and Oh my gosh it has 70 tomatoes in it. I also planted a yellow squash any and it too is producing well. We can produce our own vegetables during season very easily and economically. The best part has been watching them grow and produce, coming home at night and seeing how they have changed. I’m going to check out the book mentioned above. Thanks


  3. Strawberryfield

    I absolutely agree with voting with your purchases. It is a surefire way to get your preferences out there, feed your family better and in some cases spend less or receive more value for your dollar. I can’t believe the local grocery store just all of a sudden decided to offer more organic foods because they were concerned about our health. I think it has more to do with Whole Foods popularity. The local farmers market was eroding their veggie business but Whole Foods started eating into their bread and butter business… 🙂 ! But seriously we can be the deciders here.


  4. Kierney

    There is also the joy of watching something grow. Everyday, you’ll see changes which are so delightful! This so wonderful for children to experience, too!


  5. Carmen

    It is interesting to me that we now have to have the term “organic gardening”, when in actuality it is the original and natural way of growing plants. And the now common method of treating and growing plants is the unnatural one. Everyone would benefit from growing and eating some of their own foods. Even if that is a small tomato plant, or herb grown in a pot on their back steps. Not only is the food better for us nutritionally, as you mention above so very nicely, but by watching a plant change, we are reminded of the wonderful essence of Life that flows through everything that is living.


  6. DeeDee Miller

    Great post Gregg! One can begin organic gardening with very little space or time. Container gardening with pots and grow bags can turn a patio into a great source for nutrition, and also check out Mel Bartholomew’s book “Square Foot Gardening”.


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