Organic shoppers think they are doing the earth a favor with their organic purchases. The Organic Trade Association even says: “Organic agricultural production benefits the environment by using earth-friendly agricultural methods and practices” followed by a litany of environmental plusses like less greenhouse gas, nicer to animals, etc. (source)
However, a lengthy UK study found that organic methods can hugely increase land usage, energy consumption, and environmental impact. For example, organic tomatoes use 642% more land, organic milk produces almost 100% more soil and water pollutants, and organic chickens cause 341% more resource depletion.
Like I mentioned in an earlier article, organic methods would be cheaper if they were really more “earth-friendly.” This isn’t a stretch; major inputs to food prices are energy, labor, and land. If you use more, you have to charge more. Organic products are 10% to 40% more expensive simply because they use that much more energy, land, and resources than conventionally-farmed materials.
Want to do the earth a favor? Stop buying resource-intensive versions of conventionally-produced products.
(Props to the Dallas Observer blog article that clued me in to the subject!)