“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can, insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.” ― Maria Rodale, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe
You’ve certainly heard the term organic, but what goods can be organic, how do you define certified organic, and why should you care? Whether food, body care, fiber or otherwise, certified organic means an item was grown and produced without toxic, synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and genetic modification. Such products promote ecological health and biodiversity by meeting specific production requirements outlined by national standards and independent certifiers. Buying certified organic means you are directly supporting the health and wellbeing of both people and planet.
Not all food is created equally. Take this example: a recent study tested organic and non-organic milk to see what chemicals they contained. The results were shocking! Non-organic milk contained growth hormone, pesticide, and antibiotic residues, including two that are illegal in the United States. Organic milk contained no such contaminants.
These chemicals have a real, lasting, negative impact on human bodies. There is a significant difference in pesticide levels found in people eating organic vs. conventional diets. This video explores the positive effect that just two weeks of eating organic can have on health.
Not only is organic beneficial for our health, organic agriculture is also key to mitigating climate change. Conventional agriculture produces greenhouse gases that contribute to a multitude of negative effects, including loss of biodiversity, deforestation, and sea level rise. Organically farmed soil can store more carbon and as a result reduce greenhouse gases. For more information on this effect, check out this video about regenerative processes and sequestration.
When it comes to purchasing organic products, one thing to look out for is greenwashing. Common marketing tactics include the use of beautiful imagery like rolling green pastures and bright blue skies, or words like “natural” or “fresh” to create the illusion that the products represented are eco-friendly, even when they’re not. Greenwashing is the practice of using marketing and advertising to deceptively promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly, when in fact they are not. Looking for labels like USDA Organic ensures that products are truly organic, like today’s partner, Patagonia Provisions.
If you aren’t familiar with the true benefits and cost of organic food and products, you may not be making an entirely informed decision about your purchases. This challenge will provide the evidence behind organic, prompting each of us to be a more conscious consumer.
To get started, read this article here about the benefits and basics of organic food and take a look at The Organic Center’s infographic on how to make organic more affordable. Answer the following questions:
Upload a PDF Document with your responses. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
In today’s TED Talk, Ali Partovi, a founder of tech non-profit Code.org, previous board member of FoodCorps and vocal investor in sustainable farming, speaks about how important it is to support organic farmers and the future of organic agriculture. Luckily, one important way of supporting organic agriculture is with your dollars – and the more people who buy organic, the more powerful the impact on people and planet!
Watch today’s TED Talk to inform yourself about the multitude of ways organic farming is beneficial.
Based on the information you learned so far from today’s challenges, create a great visual (a drawing, painting, word web, poem, etc.) about the benefits of organic.
Now, it’s time to learn more about organic agriculture in your local community. Research about nearby farms and farmers markets that support organic agriculture. Find three examples of organic agriculture nearest you to highlight, and gather the following information about each:
What is the farm called?
How far is the farm from your school?
What products do they offer? Do they offer products besides organic produce, meat, or dairy?
Where can you buy their products?
Would you consider buying their products to support local, organic agriculture?
Upload a pdf of your responses. Include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.
It’s important to be aware of greenwashing when shopping for organic products. Common marketing tactics include the use of beautiful imagery like rolling green pastures and bright blue skies, or words like “natural” or “fresh” to create the illusion that the products represented are eco-friendly, when this may be far from the truth.
It’s your turn to be a detective. Stop by any grocery or convenience store near your campus and walk the aisles. If you aren’t able to physically go to the store, check out an online store like Walmart, Kroger, or Harris Teeter.
Upload a PDF Document with pictures of your products, your responses, and your social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
5 submissions will be randomly selected to receive:
Patagonia Provisions Red Bean Chili
Patagonia Provisions Black Bean Soup
Patagonia Provisions Tsampa Veggie Soup
Patagonia Provisions Mushroom & Kamut Savory Grains
Patagonia Provisions Kale & Kamut Savory Grains
Patagonia Provisions Apple Breakfast Grains
Patagonia Provisions Mango & Almond Bar
Patagonia Provisions Curry Seeds
Patagonia Provisions Chipotle Seeds
Each time you submit a challenge, you get an entry. Complete Green, Greener, and Greenest to triple your chances!
Extended deadlines and extra credits do not apply.