Is Organic Food Better For The Environment? Facts Revealed!

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Organic food is touted to be healthier for us and better for the environment.

The “switch to organic” movement has become a major eco-trend today that businesses are scrambling to create an organic version of their products; even common daily products like clothing and hygiene products are now becoming organic.

But is organic food really better for the environment? Is there basis to this claim or is this just another form of greenwashing?

So to put this question to rest once and for all, we will discuss some interesting facts on why organic food is better for the environment.

Let’s get started with the proper definition of “organic.”

What does Organic mean?

The term organic is one of the most common terms associated with eco-friendly living.

But what does organic mean?


According to the USDA (The United States Department of Agriculture), a produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have been grown on soil without the use of prohibited substances and toxic chemicals that pollutes the soil or harm organisms.

The USDA is an executive department in the United States responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to safe and sustainable farming, forestry, rural economic development, and food.

Some of the prohibited substances for organic products include strychnine and arsenic. Moreover, organic products are free from most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Meanwhile, organic meat is derived from farm animals that are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are also not allowed in organic produce.

But is organic food better for the environment? Does switching to organic food really benefit Mother Earth? Should we bother changing our diet?

Let’s find out.

Top 8 Reasons Why Organic Food is Better for the Environment

1. Organic food production helps reduce water pollution


One of the main benefits of organic food production is it helps reduce pollution and contamination of clean water.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, pollution of groundwater due to the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem in many agriculture areas.

But with organic farming (or organic agriculture), the use of these hazardous substances is prohibited (they are replaced by organic fertilizers such as compost, manure, etc.) and pesticides used are made with natural ingredients only.

Furthermore, organic farming also makes use of sustainable and restorative farming techniques that enhance soil structure and water infiltration. 

Due to these steps, well-managed organic farms greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution. 

And in agriculture areas where water pollution is an issue, conversion to organic farming is highly encouraged to preserve and maintain water quality.

2. Production of organic food helps clean air

On average, organic farms create less air pollution than non-organic farms. 

This is because organic farming severely restricts the use of manufactured chemical fertilizers, most of which are imported and come from fossil fuels.

By using locally-made, natural fertilizers, organic farming greatly minimizes the emissions caused by transport.

Organic farm standards also restrict the use of peat. 

Peat is a substance made of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter and is unique to natural areas called peatlands, mires, and peat bogs.

Peat is an important carbon sink and a valuable part of our ecosystem for combating climate change. 

And speaking of carbon…

3. Organic farm soil stores more carbon

On average, organic farm soil is healthier and stores more carbon compared to typical farm lands that use chemicals and conventional farming practices.

Healthy soils are a great component for carbon sequestration (the ability to store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) and help clean our air from this greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

Another study across the United States revealed that organic soils had 13% higher soil organic matter and 44% higher long-term carbon storage than conventionally managed farm soils.

This does not come as a surprise because if you think about it, organic farming standards have roots in taking care of the soil and nourishing the soil with natural fertilizers.

4. Organic farming helps reduce soil erosion and prevents floods


A study showed that an organic farm had eight more inches of topsoil (on average) than a chemically treated farm.

Hence, growing food through organic farming does not only provide our basic needs of sustenance but even reduce soil losses and is highly recommended to aid soil erosion control.

Soil erosion is a major problem caused by irresponsible farming activities, and erosion has severe impacts on our environment and ecosystems.

Besides the loss of fertile land that can be utilized for farming, erosion also contributes to the increase of pollution, sedimentation, and clogging in streams and rivers, causing declines in fish population and other species. 

Even worse, degraded lands won’t hold onto water, which can worsen flooding on low-lying areas.

The possible solution to erosion? Organic farming.

5. Organic food farming reduces nitrogen pollution

The use of artificial fertilizers on farms is a major cause of nitrogen pollution in our seas, air, rivers, and soils.

For instance, nitrogen fertilizers can cause eutrophication of surface waters, algal blooms (HABs), and ocean dead zones which deprive life below water of vital oxygen.


While nitrogen is vital in food and farming, it becomes a dangerous pollutant with excessive use, and excessive use of nitrogen is an understatement when it comes to agriculture.

Meanwhile, organic farming bans the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, protecting the environment from nitrogen pollution.

6. Organic farming supports healthy biodiversity in farmlands

A study suggests organic farming encourages biodiversity, or the presence of a variety of biological organisms within an area..

The current conventional way of intensive farming has been achieved by planting only high-yielding crop varieties. 

While this method of farming has been a key to the substantial increase in food production, its main effect is the reduction of biodiversity in farmlands.

But you might be thinking:

“What makes biodiversity important for food and agriculture?”

Biodiversity increases the resilience of crops to shocks and stresses, and provides opportunities for crops to adapt to emerging challenges.

In simpler terms, biodiversity in domesticated crops (and livestock) is crucial since it ensures there is a large gene pool to develop resistance for diseases and sudden climate changes.

Maintaining biodiversity in farming is one of the best ways to increase production in a sustainable way.

7. Organic farming helps maintain healthy ecosystem


The ecosystem is the life cycle of all organisms and how they benefit from each other systematically and naturally. 

Unfortunately, the introduction of harmful chemicals and pesticides in farm lands is one of the causes of the destruction of naturally existing ecosystems in farm lands.

With organic farming, the delicate balance among natural ecosystems are protected, leading to continued pollination, nutrient cycling, and natural pest control. 

Organic farming encourages birds, bees, and other organisms to live happily on farmland.

8. Production of organic food is more sustainable over the long term

When you consider all the benefits of organic farming,  it becomes clear that it is the more eco-friendly and sustainable farming approach.

Organic farming produces food while maintaining a healthy soil and ecosystem, reduces emissions from fertilizers, and helps protect our ocean and other bodies of water.

The Disadvantages of Organic Food Production


On the flip side, organic farming and switching to organic food comes with a price.

A study shows that organic farms have low yields compared to conventional farms treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Due to low yield, organic farms require 25 to 110 percent more land to produce the same amount of food than conventional farming systems, the same land could host natural ecosystems such as forests and grasslands.

In terms of dairy and meat, grass fed beef also requires more land than grain-fed beef.

Another disadvantage of switching to organic food is because of its limited supply, the price of organic food and organic produce tends to be more expensive.

On average, organic foods can cost up to 50% more than their conventionally produced counterparts.

Is Organic Food Healthier?


According to UC Davis Health, organic foods are not healthier in terms of nutrients when compared to conventionally grown foods.

But one edge of consuming organic food is that you will have less pesticide and antibiotic exposure. 

Some sources claim that by switching to organic food, you could be ingesting an estimated 700 fewer chemicals.

That being said, organic food and conventionally grown food are about the same in nutrients.


Organic farming to produce organic food offers many social and environmental benefits. 

Organic farms prohibit the usage of toxic chemicals and pesticides that destroys naturally existing farmland ecosystems and pollutes the soil and water systems.

Organic food production also results in healthier soil that enhances carbon sequestration and prevents soil erosion.

And while switching to organic food also has its drawbacks as we discussed above, it is by far, the better option if we want to protect the environment from utter destruction.

How to Make the Switch to Organic Food?

Switching to organic isn’t as hard as you think. 

Most groceries and supermarkets now offer organic food in their stalls. You can easily find organic fruit and vegetables and organic meat in your area.

Also, prioritize locally grown organic produce to minimize your carbon footprint.

Frequently Asked Questions About Organic Foods

Is organic food environmentally-friendly?

Yes. Organic food is produced in farms and facilities without using artificial fertilizers, toxic pesticides, and GMOs. This method of food production helps reduce pollution in water and air, reduces soil erosion, and supports biodiversity in farmlands.

Is organic farming better for climate?

In a way, yes. Organic farming reduces emissions by not using imported fertilizers made from petroleum-based products. Organic farming also results in healthier soil and boost its ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

What are the negative effects of organic farming?

Studies showed that organic farming have lower product yields than conventional farming systems. This results in more land usage and expensive organic produce.

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