Organic farming is a topic that comes up often in my life—even when I’m not in the office. So many people have questions about it: Is organic produce is worth the extra expense? Do the supposed health benefits actually hold any water?
Well, you can probably guess my answers. Because there are plenty of benefits to buying organic—including the fact that organic produce is simply more nutritious. So yes, it’s absolutely worth the extra expense.
But since I never expect anyone to just take my word for it, I have a new study to share with you today. And in case you needed another compelling reason to spring for that organic label, this one should do the trick.
Beetles prevent bad bacteria
Before we get to this latest study’s findings, let’s take a minute to talk about a common farming problem that’s often overlooked: Contamination of produce with wild animal feces (and all the bacteria it carries).
The problem itself makes perfect sense. Keeping wild trespassers off of farm land is a tall order—one that often leads farmers to destroy surrounding natural habitats in an effort to keep the neighboring animals away.
This, of course, threatens local wildlife. But it’s also bad for consumers, because it means that conventional farming operations require even more pesticides to ward off bugs that the local wildlife would otherwise happily eat.
And I trust I don’t need to explain why that’s a concern. Which brings me to this new study—as it demonstrates that organic farming practices effectively solve both problems.
The secret weapon? Dung beetles, which bury animal feces, thereby allowing good bacteria in the soil to flourish.
Diversity saves the day again
It shouldn’t surprise you that this research was performed on west coast farms, where well over a third of the nation’s produce originates.
And let’s not forget, we’re talking about the same soil that’s been linked to a number of E. coli outbreaks—the pathogenic bacteria you’ll recognize as a common source of food poisoning in humans. (Remember when we couldn’t eat romaine lettuce? Enough said.)
This research team looked at 15 conventional farms and 26 organic farms. Needless to say, the organic farms had more dung beetles. And as a result, soil samples from these farms showed less animal feces, and a much more diverse population of dung-eating microbes.
And if you’re wondering how big of a difference that could possibly make, well… get a load of this: Laboratory experiments showed that two strains of good bacteria in particular were able to cut E. coli populations anywhere from 50 to 90 percent.
In other words, much like the human gut, farming in harmony with nature furnishes the soil with a healthier microbiome. One that’s able to neutralize bad bacteria all by itself… no fatal pesticides necessary.
Call me crazy, but maybe people would have less “stomach flus” or diarrhea if they ate more organically. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need more convincing.
P.S. I’m a strong advocate for knowing where your food is coming from. Which is why I not only recommend organic produce, but also organic meats. In fact, I devoted a lengthy article on how organic meat also offers significant nutritional benefits in the July 2016 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“How a good cut of meat can save your life”). Subscribers have access to this and all of my past content in the archives. So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. Click here now!
“Organic farmers’ fields are faeces-free.” The Economist, 05/16/2019. (economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/05/16/organic-farmers-fields-are-faeces-free)