Why Go Organic?

AS YOUR Go ORGANIC! MONTH HEADQUARTERS we’re here to guide you on this incredible journey of pure organic bliss. And just in case you need convincing, or never knew why going organic is truly good4u… here are some facts to help keep you on the organic fruit & veggie bandwagon once and for all:


PROS OF ORGANIC PRODUCE (Minus the ‘cons’ because there aren’t any!):

  • Organic produce is always non-GMO!
  • Eat Your (Organic) Greens! In a study comparing conventional vs. organic green vegetables: spinach, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, scallions and green pepper—all had significantly higher antioxidant activity![1]
  • OR:
  • Eat Your (Organic) Greens! Organic green onions, Chinese cabbage and bok choy had between 20-50% times higher antioxidant activity than conventional types, and organic spinach was shown to have a whopping 120% times higher antioxidant activity than its conventional counterpart! [2]
  • Another study showed that there are “statistically significant” differences, with a range of antioxidants being “substantially higher”—between 19% and 69% –-in organic food. [3]
  • Organic tomatoes are richer in lycopene (+20%) and vitamin C(+30%).[4]
  • When organic produce is produced without the use of pesticides, the plants must rely on making their own antioxidant defenses. This is why many organic crops have higher levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E than conventional produce.[5]
  • Researchers have found much higher levels of cadmium, a toxic metal, in conventional crops. Pesticide residues were found on conventional crops 4x more often than on organic food. [6]
  • Organic: As Nature Intended! Organic farmers use insect traps, careful crop selection (disease-resistant varieties), predator insects or beneficial microorganisms instead of pesticides to control crop-damaging pests. [7]
  • Conventional growers use synthetic pesticides to protect their crops from molds, insects and diseases. When farmers spray pesticides, this can leave residue on produce.

The Dirty Dozen’s One Two Punch:

Strawberries: The new #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List (A list of produce that is most frequently contaminated with pesticides).

  • The USDA’s 2014 strawberry tests found that: 98 percent of strawberries sampled had residues of at least one pesticide, while some 40 percent had residues of 10 or more pesticides. The dirtiest strawberry sample had residues of 17 different pesticides! [8] [9]
  • Growers of conventional strawberries use about 60 different pesticides in various combinations.[10] [11]
  • Studies have found that organic strawberries have a longer shelf life, higher antioxidant activity, and taste better compared to conventional strawberries. [12]
  • In one variety, sensory panels judged organic strawberries to be sweeter and have better flavor, overall acceptance, and appearance than their conventional counterparts.[13]

Apples: #2 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List:

  • IT’S A FACT: Organic apples have higher levels of antioxidants such as quercetin and other flavonoids![14]
  • A study performed at Colorado State University found that organic apples taste better compared to conventional apples.[15]
  • According to the Environmental Working Group‘s (EWG) analysis of USDA data, pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the more than 700 apple samples tested (after they were washed!).Apples from around the country, domestically grown and imported, were found to have up to 48 different kinds of pesticides on them. [16]

NO FAUX FOODS (Organic’s important to everyday foods, too!):

  • Even ketchup made from organic tomatoes has higher antioxidant content than ketchup made from conventional tomatoes![17]
  • Organic basil and other organic herbs have been found to contain more bioactive compounds than conventional herbs.[18] [19]
  • Pesticides are frequently used in the growing of conventional herbs & spices. One study found that 59% of tested herbs & spices contained at least 24 different pesticide residues! [20]
  • Did you know that now all of our bulk herbs & spices are 100% USDA Organic?!* They’re Non-GMO, Non-Irradiated and do not contain synthetic pesticides or herbicides. Now that’s something to bulk about! *Transition to 100% Organic herbs & spices in all of our Natural Grocers stores will continue through 2016.
  • Less than 1 percent of cranberries grown in the U.S. are organic.[21]
  • Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program found 13 different pesticide residues on conventional cranberries.[22]
  • Organic Spanish olives have about twice as many free radical scavenging phenolic compounds than conventionally grown Spanish olives.[23]

IMPACT ON THE Environment:

  • A 2008 study found that there were 405 dead zones worldwide and that these are often caused by the runoff of chemical fertilizers into the ocean. By 2015 there were 550 dead zones worldwide.
  • The dead zone that forms in the Gulf of Mexico is, on average, 5,550 square miles. That’s larger than the state of Connecticut!
  • Here’s Something to Buzz About: In the United States alone, it is estimated that bees pollinate between $15-20 billion worth of crops.[24] Neonicotinoid pesticides (which are NOT allowed in organic farming) are killing honey bees at an alarming rate—with hives losing approximately 30% of their bees annually.
  • Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things! With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.
  • Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency has taken a toll with a loss of top soil estimated at a cost of $40 billion per year in the U.S.[25]
  • The amount of carbon left in the soil in the organic fields was 21.6 percent higher and the amount of nitrogen was 30.2 percent higher.
  • Numerous studies show that organic farming promotes biodiversity and enhances the health of the ecosystems near agricultural areas compared to conventional farming. [26]
  • The most recent statistics available show that ~1,000,000,000 pounds of pesticides are used in the United States annually and 5,200,000,000 pounds are used worldwide.[27]
  • A US Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Assessment program revealed pesticides were detected in 97% of samples from stream water and 61% of the ground water in agricultural areas.[28]


  • According to the National Institute of Health, the health effects of human exposure to pesticides are still not well understood.[29]
  • A study comparing the glucosinolate (a family of compounds that support brain health and gut health) content of organic and conventional brassica vegetables found that organic brassica vegetables have significantly more good glucosinolate. [30]
  • Studies show that consuming organic vegetables “often” or “frequently” is associated with a healthy pregnancy. [31]
  • Numerous studies have concluded that exposure to common insecticides during pregnancy can influence cognitive and brain development in children. [32] [33] [34]
  • Several new studies question if even allowable levels of pesticides do harm to humans, particularly organophosphates—substances the USDA reports are found on81 percent of all conventionally grown apples.[35]
  • Chlorpyrifos, a chemical linked to lowered IQ and higher incidence of ADHDin children is also still sprayed on 59 percent of apple orchards in the U.S., endangering the general public and those children living in rural areas. [36]
  • One study found that children with higher levels of organophosphate pesticides were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.[37] A similar study revealed almost identical results if children tested positive for a different class of pesticides.[38]
  • A group of adults volunteered to consume a diet containing 80% organic foods. After one week of eating organic, the pesticide breakdown products in their samples decreased by 96%.[39]
  • 94% of the U.S. population has measurable levels of pesticide breakdown products in their urine.[40]

Other Organic tidbits…

  • Did you know that there are government financial assistance programs to help small farmers afford the cost of becoming certified organic?[41]
  • Organic farms have between 2-5 times more birds than conventional farms. [42]
  • Soil Association polling shows healthy eating and avoiding chemical residues are key reasons cited by shoppers for buying organic produce. Care for the environment and animal welfare are also important, as is taste. Why do you choose organic? [43]
  • Organic fruits and vegetables aren’t treated with waxes or preservatives.
  • You are what they eat—food from animals fed organic feed has been shown to contain healthier fats and more antioxidants.[44][45]
  • Organic produce may look less than perfect — odd shapes, varying colors or smaller sizes. However, organic foods must meet the same quality and safety standards as those of conventional foods. [46]
  • In a side-by-side plots to produce organic and conventional vegetables for consumer sensory studies, panelists in both tests considered organic produce to be healthier (72%) and more environmentally friendly (51%) than conventional produce, while 28% considered organic produce to have better taste. [47]
  • Organic produce is ALWAYS AFFORDABLE! (Despite this common misconception—when you buy organic produce that’s in season from Natural Grocers—your health pays the price… but in a really good4u kind of way, instead of your wallet!)


  • Being in an area that has increased organic farming increases median household income by over $2,000!
  • Being in an area that has increased organic farming lowers a county’s poverty rate by as much as 1.35 percentage points!


[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.955/full

[2] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2006.00196.x/full

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study

[4] Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 May;67:139-44. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2014.02.018. Epub 2014 Feb 23. Organic versus conventional tomatoes: influence on physicochemical parameters, bioactive compounds and sensorial attributes. Vinha AF1Barreira SV2Costa AS3Alves RC4Oliveira MB3.

[5] J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Sep 11;50(19):5458-62. Modulation of antioxidant compounds in organic vs conventional fruit (peach, Prunus persica L., and pear, Pyruscommunis L.). Carbonaro M1Mattera MNicoli SBergamo PCappelloni M.

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study

[7] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880?pg=2

[8] https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/strawberries.php

[9] USDA. 2014a. Pesticide Data Program: Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2012. U.S. Department of Agriculture, February 2014. USDA. 2014b. Pesticide Data Program: Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2013. U.S. Department of Agriculture, December 2014.

[10] https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/strawberries.php

[11] USDA. 2014a. Pesticide Data Program: Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2012. U.S. Department of Agriculture, February 2014. USDA. 2014b. Pesticide Data Program: Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2013. U.S. Department of Agriculture, December 2014.

[12] PLoS One. 2010 Sep 1;5(9). pii: e12346. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012346. Fruit and soil quality of organic and conventional strawberry agroecosystems. Reganold JP1Andrews PKReeve JRCarpenter-Boggs LSchadt CWAlldredge JRRoss CFDavies NMZhou J.

[13] Reganold JP1Andrews PKReeve JRCarpenter-Boggs LSchadt CWAlldredge JRRoss CFDavies NMZhou J. Fruit and soil quality of organic and conventional strawberry agroecosystems.  PLoS One. 2010 Sep 1;5(9). pii: e12346. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012346.

[14] Petkovsek M, Slatnar A, Stampar F, Veberic R. The influence of organic/integrated production on the content of phenolic compounds in apple leaves and fruits in four different varieties over a 2-year period. J Food Sci Agric. 2010; 90(14): 2366-2378

[15] http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/61668/2/AAEA%202010%20Lab%20experiment%20final.pdf

[16] http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2012/04/23/five-reasons-to-eat-organic-apples-pesticides-healthy-communities-and-you/#3d1daaaa6d21

[17] Vallverdú-Queralt A1Medina-Remón ACasals-Ribes IAmat MLamuela-Raventós RM.  A metabolomic approach differentiates between conventional and organic ketchups. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Nov 9;59(21):11703-10

[18] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814614000156

[19] La Torre A, Leandri A, Lolletti D.Comparison of health status between organic and conventional products. Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci. 2005;70(3):351-63.

[20] Reinholds I1,Pugajeva I1Bavrins K1Kuckovska G1Bartkevics V1 Mycotoxins, pesticides and toxic metals in commercial spices and herbs. Food Addit Contam Part B Surveill. 2016 Jul 9. [Epub Center it on the wall so that the middle of it is at 5’ – 4” from the ground. ahead of print]

[21] http://civileats.com/2015/11/23/why-are-organic-cranberries-so-hard-to-find-thanksgiving/

[22] https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/2006%20PDP%20Annual%20Summary.pdf

[23] Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Mar;66(2):197-202. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2014.979320. Epub 2015 Jan 13. Total antioxidant capacity, total phenolic content and iron and zinc dialyzability in selected Greek varieties of table olives, tomatoes and legumes from conventional and organic farming. Drakou M1Birmpa AKoutelidakis AEKomaitis MPanagou EZKapsokefalou M.

[24] D. vanEngelsdorp and M. Meixner, “A historical review of managed honey bee populations in Europe and the United States and the factors taht may affect them,” J Invertebr Pathol, vol. 103, pp. S80-S95, 2007.

[25] http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-206

[26] Turnbull LA, Hector A. Applied ecology: How to get even with pestsJournal name: NatureVolume: 466,Pages: 36–37Date published: (01 July 2010)DOI:

[27] Edeigwe TK, Teboh JM, Eze PN, et al. Implications of leading crop production practices on environmental quality and human health. J Environ Management. 2015; 151:267-279

[28] Pesticides in the Nation’s Streams and Ground Water, 1992–2001—A Summary. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3028/

[29] https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/pesticides/

[30] Vicas SITeusdea ACCarbunar MSocaci SASocaciu C. doi: 10.1007/s11130-013-0367-8. Glucosinolates profile and antioxidant capacity of Romanian Brassica vegetables obtained by organic and conventional agricultural practices. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2013 Sep;68(3):313-21.

[31] Torjusen H1Brantsæter AL2Haugen M2Alexander J3Bakketeig LS4Lieblein G5Stigum H4Næs T6Swartz J7Holmboe-Ottesen G8Roos G2Meltzer HM2. Reduced risk of pre-eclampsia with organic vegetable consumption: results from the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. BMJ Open. 2014 Sep 10;4(9):e006143. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006143.

[32] McBride DL. Prenatal pesticide exposure linked to lower IQ in children. J Pediatr Nurs. 2012 Feb;27(1):85-7.

[33] Bouchard MF, Chevrier J, Harley KG, Kogut K, Vedar M, Calderon N, Trujillo C, Johnson C, Bradman A, Barr DB, Eskenazi B.Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and IQ in 7-year-old children. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Aug;119(8):1189-95

[34] Lovasi GS, Quinn JW, Rauh VA, Perera FP, Andrews HF, Garfinkel R, Hoepner L, Whyatt R, Rundle A. Chlorpyrifos exposure and urban residential environment characteristics as determinants of early childhood neurodevelopment. Am J Public Health. 2011 Jan;101(1):63-70

[35] http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/clusters/fallon/organophosfaq.htm#entry

[36] http://www.panna.org/press-release/toxic-brain-chemical-must-be-banned-health-professionals-demand-epa-take-action

[37] Bouchard MF1Bellinger DCWright ROWeisskopf MG. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and urinary metabolites of organophosphate pesticides.Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):e1270-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-3058. Epub 2010 May 17.

[38] Wagner-Schuman M1Richardson JR2,3Auinger P4,5Braun JM6Lanphear BP7,8Epstein JN9,10Yolton K11,12Froehlich TE13,14. Association of pyrethroid pesticide exposure with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a nationally representative sample of U.S. children.Environ Health. 2015 May 28;14:44. doi: 10.1186/s12940-015-0030-y.

[39] Environ Res. 2014 Jul;132:105-11. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.03.021. Epub 2014 Apr 25. Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet. Oates L1Cohen M2Braun L3Schembri A4Taskova R5.

[40] Barr DB, Bravo R, Weerasekera G, Caltabiano LM, Whitehead RD Jr, Olsson AO, Caudill SP, Schober SE, Pirkle JL, Sampson EJ, Jackson RJ, Needham LL.Concentrations of dialkyl phosphate metabolites of organophosphorus pesticides in the U.S.population. Environ Health Perspect. 2004 Feb;112(2):186-200.

[41] http://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/grassrootsguide/organic-production/organic-certification-cost-share/

[42] Nancy A. Beecher1, Ron J. Johnson*,James R. Brandle2, Ronald M. Case1andLinda J. Young3  Agroecology of Birds in Organic and Nonorganic Farmland Conservation BiologyVolume 16, Issue 6, pages 1620–1631, December 2002

[43] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study

[44] Średnicka-Tober D1Barański M1Seal C2Sanderson R3Benbrook C4Steinshamn H5Gromadzka-Ostrowska J6Rembiałkowska E7Skwarło-Sońta K8Eyre M1,Cozzi G9Krogh Larsen M10Jordon T1Niggli U11Sakowski T12Calder PC13Burdge GC13Sotiraki S14Stefanakis A14Yolcu H1Stergiadis S1Chatzidimitriou E1,Butler G1Stewart G1Leifert C1.Br J Nutr. Composition differences between organic and conventional meat: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. 2016 Mar 28;115(6):994-1011. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515005073. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

[45] Średnicka-Tober D1Barański M1Seal CJ2Sanderson R3Benbrook C4Steinshamn H5Gromadzka-Ostrowska J6Rembiałkowska E7Skwarło-Sońta K8Eyre M1,Cozzi G9Larsen MK10Jordon T1Niggli U11Sakowski T12Calder PC13Burdge GC13Sotiraki S14Stefanakis A14Stergiadis S1Yolcu H1Chatzidimitriou E1,Butler G1Stewart G1Leifert C1. Higher PUFA and n-3 PUFA, conjugated linoleic acid, α-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: a systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analyses. Br J Nutr. 2016 Mar 28;115(6):1043-60. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516000349. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

[46] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880?pg=2

[47] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17995860

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