Busting Myths on the Farm

January 05, 2016

Busting Myths on the Farm

I have just finished up my last farm visit as part of Illinois Farm Families City Moms for 2015. And, I wanted to summarize some of the common myths out there in the media, and used by marketers to make a sale, that were busted for me during this year of visiting farm families all over northern Illinois.

MYTH: "Organic" means "pesticide free"

FACT: "Organic" is a term that is regulated by the USDA and FDA. To use the term organic on your product, you DO have to meet certain guidelines, as outlined here. And, to use pesticides on an organic crop, it has to be an organic pesticide. Organic substances are not all "good for you" - they are just organic, meaning "of, relating to, or derived from living matter." People often think of manure or compost, which are both organic. But arsenic is also organic. The level of pesticide, organic or conventional, is not controlled by these labels, and you cannot really know whether that conventional product has more or less pesticide than the organic. You just know that pesticide that was used fit the organic guidelines. So, just be a savvy consumer and realize what is marketing and what is useful for your family. And wash your fruits and vegetables!

MYTH: Non-GMO means healthier and safer for your family

FACT: First, it might be useful for you to know why GMO foods were begun in the first place. Along with corn and soybeans, another early successful GMO seeds was for papaya plants, and the seed allowed for an entire crop to be saved from a very invasive virus that, if left alone, would have eradicated them from the planet. You can learn more about that here. Additionally, GMO seeds have increased yield on plants, allowing leaders to feed more people with less land around the globe, where there are increasingly more mouths to feed. GMO seeds require less pesticide use than non-GMO crops. And, in over 40 years of testing, there has not been one test that has indicated there is any change to your food, eating GMO or non-GMO. This is a multi-layered topic, but you should know there is no empirical evidence to support the claim that non-GMO foods are healthier or safer for your family.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the things I have learned as a City Mom. I am now a more informed consumer for me and my family. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program. 

Originally posted on Ate Up Amateur.

Amy Wagliardo

Amy Wagliardo Lake Bluff, IL

Amy was one of the Illinois Farm Families 2015 City Moms. Throughout the year she visited Illinois farms to learn more about where food comes from. Following each visit, the City Moms shared their thoughts by blogging about what they experienced on these farms. 

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