With the endless range of brands and options available these days, deciding what’s best for your family can quickly become overwhelming. Terms like natural, non-GMO, organic and sustainable get thrown around a lot, but what do they all mean? And why pay the extra money to buy organic products? Here, we look at five reasons why switching to organic can be one of the best decisions you make for the health and wellbeing of you and your family:

Unknown Long-Term Effects

People are becoming increasingly conscious of the high levels of chemical exposure in our day-to-day lives. We frequently use products with an ingredients list that most of us couldn’t even begin to decipher, so it’s no wonder that people are starting to question what the long-term impact may be. With this in mind, many families are beginning to exercise caution in how much exposure they are comfortable with. This awareness has led to increased demand for natural cleaning products, organic baby products, and organic fruit and vegetables.

Organic Farming is Good for the Environment

Organic farming has substantial environmental benefits as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, avoids toxic nitrogen fertilizer run-off and cuts out synthetic pesticides. The use of genetically-modified organisms, synthetic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in conventional farming does significant damage to the earth’s natural ecosystems. It negatively impacts the soil fertility, local wildlife, and pollutes the globe’s waterways. By contrast, organic farming relies on more natural methods such as compost manure fertilizer, biological pest control, companion planting, and crop rotation.

Lower Levels of Antibiotic Resistance

It is common practice to use hormones and antibiotics in conventional animal farming to produce bigger chicken breasts and larger steaks. In fact, many of the same antibiotics that are used in agriculture – such as tetracycline and streptomycin – are also used to treat human patients. The problem here is that these additives remain in the food so that when we eat them, they contribute to a growing level of antibiotic resistance. Micro-organisms that are antibiotic-resistant are often referred to as super-bugs and are a serious global threat to public health as traditional medicines become ineffective to treat them. This is why many families are opting for organic meat products, which don’t make use of antibiotics in their farming processes.

Healthier and More Humane Animal Farming

Industrial livestock production, often known as conventionally raised livestock, involves keeping animals for their meat, eggs, and milk. This generally means keeping high quantities of animals in small areas and using chemicals including hormones, vaccines, vitamin and mineral supplements, and antimicrobial agents to maintain their health and ensure high production rates.

Organic farming, on the other hand, requires that animals have access to the outdoors, fresh air and sunlight, as well as avoiding the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and GMOs.

Nutritional Benefits

Some studies have shown that organic fruit and vegetables are more nutritious than non-organic crops – others have been ambiguous. However, experts say that people who buy organic fruit and vegetables tend to be purchasing food that is closer to the source rather than produce that has been in cold storage for a period of time. This in itself has a positive impact on the nutrients within, as well as minimizing the food chain’s environmental cost by reducing transportation.

There may be a small price premium to purchase natural and organic for your family, but doing so has enormous benefits for both your health and the environment.

Producing a bountiful organic garden may be easier than you think. If you would like to try growing one, there are several pointers you may want to consider. Here are some of the steps to growing a beautiful organic garden.

Plant the Correct Plants

Planting certain crops together helps to keep weeds away and helps the plants to thrive. If you are going to plant onions, then consider planting interspersing them with Swiss chard, lettuce and carrots. Peas love to be planted alongside beans, carrots and corn. Squash plants thrive when they are planted alongside other vine plants like cucumbers and melons. Alternatively, corn provides good shade for peas and beans.

Control Weeds

It is important to control weeds early in an organic garden. Mulching the garden before you start helps to prevent weeds from growing. Plant vegetables and flowers so that their leaves barely touch at maturity. Try covering the ground with a groundcover plant between rows. Use drip irrigation to get the water only where you need it. Spray weeds with a combination of olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Use Beneficial Insects

Many vegetables and flowers will not pollinate without bees. Lacewings discourage aphids and mealybugs from munching on your vegetables. Ground beetles come out at night keeping slugs, snails and cutworms from feasting on your food in the garden. Soldier beetles help to grow aphids. Ladybugs often consume up to 60 insects a day helping to stop insect problems in your organic garden.

Unfortunately, not all creatures that enter your garden will be beneficial. Snails and slugs, for example, should be kept at bay as they will try to eat anything that is leafy and possibly other plants as well. Here are a few things that will keep snails and slugs away:

  • Crushed Egg Shells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Mint Plants
  • Salt
  • Powdered Chalk

Some of those ideas might sound weird to you, but you’ll definitely find them useful if you find yourself having a hard time keeping snails and the like out of your garden.

Build Good Soil

Mulch not only helps to control weeds but also helps to build good soil. Mulching around your plants helps to keep the soil cooler, so your plants grow healthier. Incorporating organic matter into the soil can help water and nutrients reach your plants. Using organic mulch and matter also means you can spend less time hoeing and tilling. Consider getting your soil tested so that you know what you need to add to it to keep the pH balanced.

Feed Your Plants

You will need to feed your plants with an organic fertilizer, like that available from Nature Safe. After getting your soil tested, you will know the proper amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that your garden needs to thrive. Nitrogen helps foliage thrive. Phosphorus helps keeps roots strong. Potassium helps your plants to reproduce.

Use these pointers and soon you will have a bountiful harvest. Enjoy eating the food that you have grown organically in your own garden.

More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of protecting the environment. With global warming, decreasing biodiversity, deforestation, water scarcity and other global issues, adopting an eco-friendlier, more sustainable lifestyle can be a significant step towards a better and greener future.

Therefore, you should consider making your student life more ethical and green as a way to contribute to the conservation of the environment. Furthermore, by turning to eco-friendly living, you may inspire your peers to follow your example.

Adopt friendlier habits

There are numerous eco-friendly habits that you can adopt to save the environment. For example, you should go to college by foot or bike instead of taking a bus or cab. You should also reduce your water consumption by turning off taps while soaping your hands or body or brushing your teeth.

Turning off the lights and installing LED bulbs can reduce your energy consumption and cut your bills. These are simple habits that you can easily adopt and that can truly help you make a contribution to the environment preservation.

Reduce your paper use

Every student is buried in paper – notes, assignments, copies, books, reminders, planners, etc. You probably like to print out your notes, highlight important parts with colourful markers and copy your friends’ notes. However, switching to the digital format can significantly reduce your paper use and help the environment.

You should consider reading books via e-readers or your laptop and taking your laptop to lectures to write down your notes. Not only will you save paper, but you’ll also be able to access your notes from any device, at any place and at any time. You can go digital even when you exchange notes with your peers.

For example, Australian students can exchange their uni papers online by accessing the Thinkswap platform. You can find a similar platform for your university and have different notes, student guides and assignments at your disposal. You can also post your notes to help out other students in need. This way, you’ll speed up your studying process, reduce your paper use and save both money and the environment.

Control waste

There are so many ways to reduce waste without breaking a sweat. Instead of going from plastic bottles and paper cups, you should buy reusable ones and simply wash them after. You should also avoid using wet wipes, paper towels, plastic razors and plastic grocery bags. When shopping for different products, go with bigger bottles and containers instead of tiny ones. In addition, you should avoid wasting food, too. If possible, freezer your leftovers or share your food with your friends.

Practice what you preach

Preaching about saving the environment while doing the opposite is quite unethical. Instead, try to be a great example to your friends by practicing what you preach in real life. Make sure to stick to your own advice before giving it to someone else. Only when you do that will you have the right to advise others. Afterwards, you can expand ecological awareness and help your friends adopt eco-friendlier lifestyles.

No matter how small and insignificant these changes may seem, they can actually help you lead a healthier and greener life that benefits the environment, too.