Choosing pre-made organic baby food ensures that the food you feed your baby is grown without pesticides, making it more baby- and earth-friendly.
Choosing pre-made organic baby food helps you go green because…
- It ensures that food has been grown without the use of pesticides, which can be harmful to the environment and potentially dangerous to infant health.
- Organic farming combats global warming through carbon sequestration.
Organic baby foods represent 2.5 percent of the market and the industry is growing rapidly. In 2006, sales of organic baby food jumped by 22 percent. According to the US Department of Agriculture, products labeled organic must be produced using nationally approved standards. Farmers who produce organic foods focus on the use of renewable resources and sustainable practices, including soil and water conservation. Organic food is produced without most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, ionizing radiation, or bioengineering. Organic meats, dairy, poultry and eggs come from animals that were not administered growth hormones or antibiotics.
Pesticides, children, and the environment
In the US, more than a billion pounds of pesticides are used each year by conventional farmers to get rid of unwanted organisms. Because pesticides contain powerful chemicals , they often have a dangerous spillover effect on non-targeted organisms, including humans.
According to the US Geological Survey, pesticides have been found in every stream and in 80 percent of freshwater fish in the United States. Pesticides also decrease soil biodiversity by killing off many organisms and persist in the environment for years after use.
Baby food, made from ground up fruits and vegetables and grown in a conventional manner, has been found to contain pesticide residues. Twenty million American children five years old and under consume an average of eight types of pesticides per day. Children are at higher risk for pesticide exposure because their bodies are still developing and because they consume larger amounts of pesticide-laden food per body weight than adults. Exposure to pesticides has been shown to cause neurological, endocrine, reproductive, and developmental damage and disorders.
Organic farming and global warming
Organic farming may also be key in fighting global climate change. During a 23-season study of conventional versus organic farming methods, the Rodale Institute discovered that organic farming combats global warming through carbon sequestration. In agricultural applications, the more organic matter that is retained in the soil, the more carbon is sequestered. While conventional farming depletes organic matter through the use of chemical fertilizers, organic farming uses animal manure and cover crops, which actually build soil organic matter.
Organic farming further reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by using 37 percent fewer fossil fuels than conventional farming. The Rodale Institute estimates that if all 160 million acres of corn and soybean farmland in the US were switched to organic farming methods, it would be equivalent to removing 58.7 million cars from the road, and would satisfy 73 percent of the proposed US Kyoto targets for CO2 reduction.
The recent rise in organic food sales is being fueled by concern for the environment, followed by concern for health. However, some experts criticize the preference for organic food, claiming it is actually detrimental to the environment. Norman Bourlag, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the "green revolution," argues that organic farming techniques produce lower crop yields than conventional methods and therefore require greater land use to produce an equivalent quantity of food. It has been similarly argued that the lower crop yields from organic farming require more energy per ton of food grown, increasing the carbon footprint of the food.
- carbon sequestration: The process by which carbon is captured (in the form of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and incorporated into soil, ocean, and plant matter.
- organophosphates: Organophosphates are a type of organophosphorous compound. Their toxic nature has led to their use in pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and as nerve gas. The neurotoxic compounds irreversibly damage the nervous systems of organisms exposed and are one of the largest sources of poisonings.
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- US Department of Agriculture - Organic Foods and Standards: The Facts
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Pesticides
- Environmental Protection Agency - Protecting Children from Pesticides
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Protecting Children from Pesticides
- US Geological Survey - Pesticides in the Nation's Streams and Ground Water, 1992ÛÒ2001
- Environmental Working Group - How 'Bout Them Apples?
- Straus Communications - Organic Farming Sequesters Atmospheric Carbon and Nutrients in Soils: The Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trialåš Findings
- The New Farm - Organic farming combats global warming … big time
- The Economist - Food Politics