The term ‘organic’ today means little or nothing when printed on a product label. When you pick up organic vegetables, fruit or grain from those expensive shops are you sure you are getting what you paid such high prices for?
Conversion of contaminated soil to organic soil requires the soil to remain untouched for a minimum of 9 years. 25 years ago I was lucky to visit an organic farm in the state of New York. The owner of the farm had given up his prestigious job (President of Citibank) to start this venture. He was extremely well informed about what ‘organic’ means and what it requires. He had purchased his 10 acres while still at Citibank and left it untouched for the required 9 years. During which time the local flora, fauna and climatic conditions took over and worked in harmony. This powerful synergy purged the soil of all existing chemical pesticides and fertilizers and brought it back to it’s original healthy state. How many of our farmers have left their soil alone for 9 years before cultivating their ‘organic’ produce?
When I read the word ‘organic’ on packaging I am concerned about the water table being permanently contaminated in areas and permanent toxic residues surrounding industrial areas due to the waste that pours out from these industries.
Conversely there is some produce that is inherently organic. Some crops are native to their regions, like kokum. These crops grow abundantly in the wild, their produce is collected and then sold as ‘organic’ at very high prices. Yes these are organic but nothing special has been done to the crops. This produce should be cheaper than other cultivated produce as it is readily available in nature, without involving the effort and cost of cultivation.
Another bone of contention is that the so called organic grain you purchase is supposed to be pesticide free. It is not. All grain MUST be protected from insects. The grain is stored with toxic substances like sulphas tablets and boric powder. Before the grain is packed for the market the tablets are removed but the powder remains. This is the grain you send to be milled into flour, pesticide and all.
PLEASE wash and dry all grain before milling. You can spread the wet grain out in a thin layer on a cotton cloth under a ceiling fan.
We have distanced ourselves from healthier, safer processes. Traditionally neem leaves were used to keep insects away. These safe, non-toxic leaves were dried in the shade to preserve their color and insecticidal properties. The dried leaves were mixed whole or in powder form with the grain. This kept all insect pests away. Farmers today still follow this method for all the grain they set aside for home consumption.
Next time you want to pick up an organic product, find out the real story behind it.