For those of us who work in the organic produce business, we literally live by the form and function of the soil. We’re directly connected to the earth and, by default, want to protect it simply because our livelihood depends upon its careful and successful management. In 1970, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson conceived the notion of a day dedicated to environmental awareness. Designed humbly as a “teach-in” that initially focused on educating college students about the ways pollution affects air and water quality, the day became a much broader event, with speeches, musical performances, rallies, and gatherings taking place throughout the United States. As a result of these efforts, environmental protective legislation soon followed—like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Today, Earth Day is one of the largest civic observances in the world. Earth Day brings awareness to all the ways its health impacts so much of what we do—but it’s important to remember that our planet deserves our advocacy and attention every day. Studies have shown that the ecological benefits of organic agriculture are vast. Organic farming supports the diverse ecosystems that are crucial to the land and brings long-term value to the soil that grows the fruits and vegetables that feed our communities. One of the ways organic growers support diverse ecosystems is by maintaining healthy soil. Healthy soil allows plants to grow to their maximum productivity with less disease or pests. Food is only as good as the soil that it is grown in—some might even argue that plants grown in well-balanced soil yield better-tasting fruits and vegetables—so it’s important that we do what we can to protect the land that sustains us all. It takes passion, diligence, and a commitment from organic growers to nurture crops and land—the same dedication that inspired Senator Nelson decades ago. And it is far from easy. In addition to being heavily regulated and closely monitored by government entities, organic crops are more vulnerable to pests and disease and require meticulous attention from growers. They must also be strategic when it comes to planting their acreage with various crops throughout the growing season to fortify and diversify soil nutrients. But it’s worth it—on Earth Day and every day—because the choices made today effect future generations. To help inform and educate your shoppers about the impact of organic farming and the benefits of organic produce, here are three food-for-thought insights you can display with organic fruits and vegetables in your produce aisle. 3 things to know about organic produce
- Every purchase of organic produce helps drive collective demand for the sustainable farming methods that are better for the earth.
- Studies suggest that organic fruits and vegetables, more often than not, have higher levels of flavor-enhancing nutrients, coupled with lower concentrations of water and sugars. That results in typically more intense, complex flavors.1
- Topsoil gives plants nutrients as they grow, but pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals have been shown to reduce topsoil. It takes at least 100 years—depending on climate, vegetation, and other factors—for the earth to generate one inch of topsoil.2