For millions of years, as long as mammals and their predecessors have lived on Earth, humans and our ancestors have always eaten raw, organic food. Our physical bodies evolved in the exact way that Earth's raw, organic food encouraged us to do: the match between cellular needs of our bodies and the nutrients which raw, organically grown plants can provide is complete - 100 hundred percent.
The movement away from organic food started in the 1860's, when a man called Justus Leibig applied his new-fangled modern, scientific mind to the question. "I wonder what makes plants grow?" to answer his question, he took some soil and burnt it. In the ashes he found potassium, potash and nitrogen. "Miracles!" he thought, "I've found the secret to life!" It wasn't enough to burn his own food, he also had to burn the soil in which the food grew.
From that moment on, modern farming started to add manufactured fertilizers to the soil to boost the productivity of plants. Today, the production of chemical fertilizers worldwide - and the parallel production of pesticides - is a huge, multi-billion dollar international business.
In the 1920s, however, a small group of people in England inspired by the leadership of Lady Eve Balfour formed the Soil Association. They started to spread the idea that food was better grown organically, without chemicals. Today, the organic revolution is beginning to catch on all over the world. Denmark has committed itself to 20 percent of its farming being organic by the year 2000, and the Gallo wine company is the largest organic farm in California.
At Last - The Proof
Throughout the years, however, there has never been any hard and fast proof that organic food is actually any better for you. Instinct might tell you that it is, and the knowledge that you're not eating all those chemicals sure feels good, but where was the proof?
Finally, the answers have arrived. In 1993, a trace minerals laboratory analyst in Chicago named Bob L. Smith started a small experiment. For two years, he went to stores in Chicago and purchased between four and fifteen samples of both organic and non-organic produce. He took the foods back to his laboratory and analyzed them for trace elements, to see what was present and what was missing.
· The organically grown wheat had twice the calcium, four times more magnesium, five times more manganese, and thirteen times more selenium than the non-organic varieties.
· Organically grown corn had twenty times more calcium and manganese, and two to five times more copper, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.
· Organically grown potatoes had two or more times the boron, selenium, silicon, strontium and sulfur, and sixty percent more zinc.
The organically grown pears had two to nearly three times more chromium, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, silicon and zinc.
Overall, organically grown food exceeded conventionally grown crops significantly in twenty to the twenty two beneficial trace elements. They also had lower quantities of toxic trace elements such as aluminum, lead and mercury. Trace elements are critically important for our health and the development of the brain. In a recent paper in the British medical journal The Lancet, Danish researchers reported that organic farmers and men who regularly consumed organic food had twice the sperm count of men who did not consume organic food.
Did you know why pests love non-organic food, but avoid crops raised organically on good compost? Two studies by Dr. Larry Phelan show that the European corn borer moths lay 18 times more eggs on sweet corn plants grown in chemically farmed soils than on organic soils. When he carefully monitored the variables, he found that it was the mineral ratios which were responsible. When the necessary minerals are available in the proper balance, plant roots absorb exactly what they need for photosynthesis.
Plants grown in chemical soils often lack this mineral balance. Pests are not as attracted to the complex starches and proteins in plants with a good mineral balance --they're like cooked food addicts, and prefer a diet rich in simple sugars and amino acids that are present when the mineral supply is out of balance. Organic farmers have sensed this for years -- but this is the first time there has been solid scientific evidence (not that we needed any.)
References: Guy Dauncey's monthly publication from Victoria, BC.