organic, non-GMO, non GMO, GMO, plant powered living, dirty dozen, how to, vegan, vegetarian, plant based diet

I was asked recently what organic food is and how it’s grown…. How do they keep critters away if they use no pesticides? People often wonder what the difference is between conventional and organic food…. Why would you choose organic over conventional?

Organic agriculture does use fertilizers and pesticides, but excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides contain herbicides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics and GMOs (genetically modified organisms). GMOs are once living organisms that are altered using molecular genetics techniques such as gene cloning and protein engineering. Numerous studies have been conducted on the risks of producing and consuming GMOs such as:

  1. Increase in frequency and severity of allergic reactions.
  2. GM corn (specifically insecticide-producing GM corn) has been linked with numerous developmental and genetic disorders, compromised immune function and reduced fertility in animal feeding studies.
  3. GM DNA has been found to survive processing and may contribute to antibiotic resistant bacteria aka “superbugs” via a process called “horizontal gene transfer.”
  4. In spite of chemical company claims of solving the world food crisis, most GM crops are cash crops for animal feed and biofuels for affluent countries, not food for people.
  5. GM foods are increasing the proliferation of industrial farming and driving the small farm out of business. There is a growing mountain of evidence that small farms use their space more efficiently.

For more information, we suggest reading this excellent simple-English e-brochure put together by With over 130 scholarly references this is the most complete and accessible guide we at Plant Powered Living have been able to find.

Organic farming takes the more preventative approach by using sophisticated crop rotations, cover crops, green manure and compost. When you properly rotate and manage the field you are working, it disrupts the flow and growth of weeds, insects, bacteria, and disease. Organic farmers also rely on nature to keep pests away. Birds, soil organisms, beneficial insects all play their part in keeping our plants living bug free and edible for us!

  1. Organic food is luscious and tastes great! It makes sense that rich nutrient dense soils produce strong thriving tasty plants.
  2. Organic farmers work in harmony with nature. Earlier I mentioned that birds and insects fight pesticides. Organic farming fights to preserve wild life and natural areas.
  3. Organic food has more nutrients. When using compost (organic food matter) and green manure to promote plant growth instead of chemical fertilizers, the plant’s nutrient content is dramatically effected.
  4. Organic farms respect our community by eliminating toxins and waste in agriculture, organic farming eliminates these from our entire eco system. It also helps small family owned farms thrive in this big business economy.
  5. Organic crops lower chance of disease. All of those chemicals, hormones, herbicides that they spray on crops to kill insects actually are very damaging to our insides. Who would have thought?

Not only are crops being sprayed with the chemicals listed above but also MSG (glutamic acid) a supposed “growth enhancer”. Dr Russel Baylock MD, author of Excitoxins: the Taste That Kills, says that in addition to MSG causing obesity, it also causes several other types of neurological disorders. The constant increase of MSG over the past 60 years in our food chain has corresponded with the surge of type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other forms of neurological disorder. Organic food is more expensive but so worth the few cents more per pound. If you can’t afford to buy all organic do the best you can and buy some organic. Every small step you take will help yourself, your family, your friends, and the environment.

The Environmental Working Group produces and maintains an extensive list of foods ranked according to pesticide contamination (organic foods are non-GMO if they carry the USDA Organic seal). According to their testing, here are the “Dirty Dozen” a.k.a the most important foods to buy organic:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries – domestic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

Please vote this November 2012 for The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012 – See more details here!  Yes, we have a right to know!
Quick Overview: The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would require food sold in retail outlets such as grocery stores (not including restaurants) to be labeled if it is produced with genetic engineering. In addition to this disclosure, genetically engineered foods are prohibited from being advertised as ‘natural.’