Niagara Area Farm © Tim Hagen

Our consuming habits are one of the vital vital influences on our private well being in addition to that of the atmosphere. A lot of our meals is grown removed from shoppers by way of unsustainable and unethical practices, leading to vital however typically invisible impacts on nature, together with wildlife.

Natural farming practices goal to scale back and even reverse the environmental degradation attributable to standard farming by way of regenerative and pure practices.

What does natural actually imply?

Meals licensed natural is grown to assist environmental sustainability by way of practices that encourage long-term regenerative agriculture. All kinds of meals will be produced organically, from fruit and veggies to meat and fish. The natural seal is awarded by a CFIA-accredited certification physique; Farmers should bear a rigorous annual evaluation to obtain the label. To acquire natural certification, a product should be produced with out the usage of:

Mount Wolfe Farm © David Coulson

Environmental advantages of natural meals

With a view to be licensed with the natural seal, agriculture should do greater than keep away from the substances listed above. Natural farming should additionally promote environmental sustainability by way of practices that assist restore the atmosphere. For instance, by utilizing pure fertilizers and pesticides to scale back chemical runoff getting into soil and water.

These farming practices transcend environmental advantages and immediately impression human well being by way of safer meals selections. For instance, research have discovered that organically grown meals are much less more likely to comprise detectable ranges of artificial pesticides and are 48% much less more likely to comprise cadmium, which is a identified carcinogen. Equally, heavy use of progress hormones in beef manufacturing can have hostile well being results on shoppers, reminiscent of: B. hormonal imbalances and developmental issues in infants.

Organic Cucumbers from Mount Wolfe FarmMount Wolfe Farm natural cucumbers © David Coulson

Results of non-organic farming on nature

Non-organic farming sometimes makes use of monocultures, heavy water use, and chemical fertilizers. These practices immediately end in decrease productiveness in soils by depleting soil vitamins and creating chemical runoff. Artificial fertilizers and pesticides settle within the soil and on vegetation and are washed away when it rains. These chemical substances then run off into water our bodies, the place their meant impacts on the native atmosphere happen. This could result in environmental degradation reminiscent of eutrophication, soil and water acidification, and water air pollution.

Native ecosystems will be severely affected by chemical runoff, notably pesticides, which might unfold far and huge into the Nice Lakes and native streams. This widespread unfold of chemical substances has a big impression on wildlife. For instance, insect populations are steadily declining partially resulting from publicity to pesticide runoff. Different animal species reminiscent of songbirds, amphibians and reptiles are additionally inclined to the results of chemical publicity.

Brenda Hsueh, Gray Bruce ALUS farmerBrenda Hsueh, Grey Bruce ALUS farmer © Lindsay Barden

Different impacts of non-organic farming

Local weather change is likely one of the largest threats to agriculture, and conversely, standard agriculture is the largest contributor to local weather change. Poor agricultural practices enhance the dangers of local weather change by lowering soil carbon storage and releasing chemical substances into water our bodies that emit greenhouse gases. Local weather change, in flip, is resulting in drier seasons and extra intense climate occasions that have an effect on agriculture.

Youth Conservation Photography Retreat, Ontario Apples and RaspberriesConservation Images Retreat for Youth © Nature Guardians Youth Program

So what are you able to do?

Attempt to purchase natural every time doable. When looking for groceries, search for the natural seal, which ensures the meals has been audited for natural practices beneath the CFIA.

Sadly, licensed natural merchandise is probably not extensively out there or could also be dearer than what many can afford. If natural meals aren’t out there, search for meals with different labels that declare sustainability, moral manufacturing, and/or well being security at each step of the manufacturing chain.

Our meals performs a direct position in our well being and our surroundings. By taking motion to enhance our meals selections, not solely can we enhance our well being, however we are able to additionally play a big position in steering our farming practices in direction of a extra sustainable, environmentally accountable future.

Would you prefer to be taught extra about how one can scale back your ecological footprint? Go to our web site for extra info: ontarionature.org/take-action/reduce-your-environmental-footprint/

Lena Milton is a contract author specializing in sustainability, well being and environmental sciences. She writes to assist shoppers perceive the environmental and moral challenges they face on daily basis so we are able to discover viable options to each.