Agriculture has a huge impact on the lives of people around the world. As the main source of food for the general public, how our agricultural systems work is related to how healthy the world’s population will become.
At the same time, the agricultural sector dictates how strong the economies of most countries will be. In more ways than one, all kinds of critical flaws have been exposed in the farming system.
As such, alternate approaches to farming have emerged, with the 2 most popular ones being local and organic. So what’s the difference and which of these 2 approaches is better?
The Case for Organic
Organic food is defined as food grown using environmentally friendly agricultural methods. It is common knowledge that the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other artificial agents has an adverse effect on human health (and the health of virtually every organism who consumes it).
But not only our health is at stake. These chemicals have an adverse effect on the environment, too. They poison air, soil and water on varying degrees. So organic farming is not only a healthy way to get food to our tables, it is also an environmentally sustainable way to procure our food.
The advantages of going organic are numerous. By eliminating the use of artificial substances from farming, the amount of toxins that end up in our bodies is significantly reduced. Also, the farm and the environment at large are spared from the damages that such substances cause.
It prevents GMOs from manipulating both our food and our environment. If there’s a disadvantage with this approach, it is that organic foods are still relatively pricey. However, as more people follow this approach, prices are only expected to go lower with time.
The Case for Local
Local food is defined as foods acquired from local sources. While organic farming is mainly targeted on the farming approach itself, local farming mainly targets on where the consumers actually get their food.
It’s a fact that farming has largely become a globalized industry. In fact, most of today’s farms are held by large national or multinational corporations. Such changes have a ripple effect on both the quality and distribution of food in communities. At the same time, it also has an impact on local economies.
The advantages of going local are also plenty. It helps in ensuring that the food that come onto your table is healthy. There are 2 schools of thought to this. First, large farming entities tend to use undesirable methods for growing their products. Second, going local significantly reduces (or even eliminates) “food miles”, which inadvertently adds toxins into food (think preservatives) and is more polluting for the environment (think transportation of these foods around the world). Last but not least, it provides more livelihood opportunities for local farmers, and boost the local economy.
Local or Organic Food? Which Is Better? The Verdict
So which is the better approach: local or organic? To be honest, both approaches have their own merits. In fact, you don’t even have to get to that point wherein you should choose one over the other. Following either approach will be great, but integrating both approaches just might provide the best long-term answer for a sustainable means for supplying food to our tables.