Focus on organic – article – New Hope Network

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Mar 01, 2022
We are in a time of increasing awareness about both our personal health and the health of the planet. While one could speculate that the stresses of the pandemic would have diminished these concerns, the exact opposite has happened. In a 2020 survey by New Hope Network with the Suzy research platform, 77 percent of people said their personal health was more important than it was in 2019 and 67 percent said environmental health was more important than it was in 2019. What does this mean for food? Research from New Hope Network NEXT Data collected in 2020 on consumer behavior found dramatic increases in food purchases not for reasons like taste or convenience but rather for quality of nutrition and environmental value.
With this ever-shifting tide, consumers are seeking natural products in record numbers, not just for general wellness but also because of the values they provide in uncertain times. Food production that addresses bigger issues such as land conservation, climate change mitigation and strengthening of community—steps that all point to a better future—are of crucial importance now.
That is where organic comes in.
In 2020, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) conducted a survey of 3,188 shoppers and found that more than 90 percent of these shoppers reported that in their current food shopping, organic is more important than ever. The commitment to organic has always been at the intersection of health and safety and that connection resounds even more right now.
Most consumers want to avoid all of the undesirables that are not allowed in organic food. To be USDA certified organic, a food must be grown and produced with:
No toxic and synthetic pesticides or fertilizer
No GMO ingredients 
No antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones
No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
Because of these strict standards, it is widely understood that organic food is inherently healthier. It has lower levels of heavy metals, such as cadmium, as well as lower levels of synthetic fertilizers and pesticide residues. Organic food is also more nutritious than conventional food, as established by many research studies. A 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients reported that organic foods are richer in antioxidants, particularly polyphenol, and that consumption of organic food is associated with other healthier habits too, pointing to an overall healthier life.
But something consumers don’t seem to focus on as much is how profoundly supportive organic farming and organic food is for the environment. According to the OTA, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers deplete the soil of nutrients, while also speeding up degradation of the land. Instead of using fertilizers and pesticides, organic farmers use cover crops, animal manures and crop rotation to fertilize the soil. This is crucial for long-term soil health. Additionally, a reduced use of chemicals also reduces exposure risk to farm workers and their families, helping to improve community and the surrounding wildlife.
This is why Daabon farms without the use of toxic chemical pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Any plant-matter from the palm fruit milling process that can’t be converted into a commercial product becomes feed for animals and fertilizer for the palm trees themselves. Daabon never clears land for planting and the company has established wildlife corridors between plantations because research shows it improves biodiversity. This is important for Colombia, the second-most biodiverse country in the world.
But there’s still more. Organic practices support a healthier planet and a slowing of global warming. The OTA states, “Organic agriculture is based on practices that not only protect environmental health, but also strive to improve it. By prohibiting the use of petroleum-based fertilizers and absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, organic agriculture helps to reduce our carbon footprint and combat change.”
“Agriculture adds a large amount of nitrogen into the environment during the food production process,” explains Jessica Shade, director of science programs for The Organic Center. Many common organic farming practices—like composting and the use of manure fertilization in place of synthetic fertilizers—can recycle reactive nitrogen that is already in the global system rather than introducing new reactive nitrogen into the environment, and thus have a much smaller environmental impact,she says.
In fact, a study conducted by The Organic Center in partnership with a team at the University of Virginia found that organic farming recycled or reused three times more reactive nitrogen than conventional farming. The study also found that almost all the nitrogen used to produce the food in a conventional diet—93 percent—was newly created reactive nitrogen. In comparison, for an average diet of organic foods, only 33 percent of the nitrogen used to produce the food was new reactive nitrogen.
Notably, Daabon was the first palm company to become certified organic. This focus on the protection of the environment sits at the foundation of Daabon’s business and will remain there long into the future. The data in the reactive nitrogen study mentioned above prove that Daabon is on the right track in its commitment to organic agriculture as an important and effective way to protect the planet.
At Daabon, we’re proud of our organic heritage and we’re also proud to support the palm oil industry (and the food industry as a whole) in moving towards production models that are truly sustainable. Certified organic agriculture is a critical component to create lasting change for the planet.
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