Funny to think about it, but until the 20th Century, the question of “why choose organic” didn’t even exist; food was organic! Beginning in the early 1900’s, dramatic and simultaneous advances in biochemistry and engineering rapidly and profoundly changed farming practices and began to reshape the face of modern agriculture.
With the introduction of the tractor and synthetic fertilizers before World War II, hundreds of mechanized farm implements were made possible overnight, including the introduction of synthesized nitrogen fertilizer. Post-World War II, many farmers began to install large-scale irrigation, which helped facilitate the implementation of new chemical technologies such as ammonium nitrate and DDT. Farms grew bigger, and synthetic implements more frequent. This generated the kind of mass yields we see today in common crops. The era of the commercial farm was born.
As early as the 1920’s, advocates of organic farming began to speak out. Agronomists such as Lord Northbourne and F.H. King envisioned agricultural practices that promoted healthy soil through natural means. The term, “organic farming” was coined by Northbourne to describe a holistic, ecologically-balanced approach to farming.
In every decade since then, organic proponents and researchers around the world have argued, and in many cases proven, the benefits of returning to an all-natural approach to farming – entirely free of synthetic fertilizers and man-made pesticides.
To answer the “why choose organic” question, one only need look at how the developments of the last century have taken us to where we are today: a nation largely ingesting marginally-nutritious food grown who-knows-where with who-knows-what sprayed on it or injected into it. This statement begs the next question: how do I know the food I’m buying is really organic?