When you’re heavily involved in a movement like Permaculture and only interacting with people within those circles it’s easy to think everyone’s on board, but walking the busy streets of Melbourne you promptly get jolted back to reality. It appears clear the necessary goals of Permaculture (and other similar movements) are far from the mind of the masses who are still completely immersed in their individual pursuits unaware of the growing cracks under the pavement.
Needing lunch I stopped into a favourite organic cafe in Degraves Street. It’s squashy and loud, there’s graffiti on the walls, branded clothing and slick mobile phones everywhere. I can see why people love this place – cultural Melbourne is my favourite place on earth as well and I can’t help but feel trendy as I grab an organic, free-trade, soy mocha-latte.
Then sitting down to wait for lunch in my little booth I’m confronted with a poster stating 10 Reasons to Go Organic. I know people on this site know the reasons but it was really good to be reminded.
- Organic produce is not covered in a cocktail of poisonous chemicals. The average chemically grown apple has 20 – 30 artificial poisons on its skin even after rinsing. Trust your instincts, and go organic!
- Fresh organic produce contains on average 50% more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micro-nutrients than intensively farmed produce. Science says that’s good for you.
- Going organic is the only practical way to avoid eating genetically modified foods. And by buying organic, you register your mistrust of GMOs and are doing your bit to protect against them.
- If you eat meat or dairy products, going organic has never been more essential to safeguard you and your families health. Intensively farmed dairy cows and farm animals are fed a dangerous cocktail of antibiotics, growth promoting drugs, anti-parasite drugs and many other medicines on a daily basis. These drugs are passed on directly to the consumers of their meat and dairy produce which must be a contributing factor to meat related diseases like coronaries and high blood pressure.
- About 99% of non-organic farm animals in the UK are now fed GM soya. And there has never been a reported case of BSE in organic cattle in the UK. Common sense says that organic is safe food.
- Organic food simply tastes so much better. Fruit and Vegetables full of juice and flavour, and there are so many different varieties to try! There are over 100 different kinds of organic potatoes available!
- Organic farms support and nurture our beautiful and diverse wildlife. Over the last 30 years, intensive farming has lead to dramatic erosion of soil, a fall of up to 70% of wild bird life in some areas, the destruction of ancient hedgerows, and the near extinction of some of the most beautiful species of butterflies, frogs, grass snakes and wild mammals.
- Organic food is not really more expensive than intensively farmed food as we pay for conventional food through our taxes. We spend billions of dollars every year cleaning up the mess agrochemicals make to our natural water supply. Go organic for a more genuine cost effective future.
- Intensive farming can seriously damage farm workers health. There are much higher instances of cancer, respiratory problems and other major diseases in farm workers from non organic farms. This is particularly true for developing countries, and for agrochemical farms growing cotton. So go organic if you care about other people.
- And if you simply like the idea of your children and grandchildren being able to visit the countryside and play in the forests and fields like we did when we were young, go organic for the sake of all our futures.
Now it’s worth noting that – depending on the practices of the farm and how far the produce has been shipped – ‘organic’ doesn’t really go far enough in terms of the true meaning of sustainability, still requiring external inputs and lots of diesel. Nor is it a perfectly regulated system but it’s leaps and bounds ahead of the ‘conventional’ agriculture and shows respect for life.
Not only is it good to be reminded of why we should all go organic but it’s refreshing to remember that change is in the air and people do adapt quickly when they know they need to. Hearing the conversations as I ate, there were many regulars dropping past for a break in their busy ‘individualistic, real-world’ lives and the counter was constantly under the pump. Each person in this constant stream was in the line for the same reason, they wanted organic food. Some would be fully aware of why they want it, some partially and some dropping in to feel good about themselves, but in the end these people all know and are on the path to further understanding of the reasons drastic change is urgently needed.
Not everyone will hop off the carousel at once but the next logical step from thinking organic is growing the food at home and getting serious about other things in your life that damage the environment. This is the transition period. No, I’m not deluding myself that change is happening fast enough but movements grow exponentially and once they hit the tipping point there’s no stopping them. Despite the necessary grim stuff that I see and hear all day every day, I can also see people genuinely wanting to do more. That feels good and motivates me to push past the tipping point!