Organic vs. Conventional

Differences at a glanceOrganicNatural
Toxic persistent pesticides and herbicidesNot AllowedAllowed
GMOsNot AllowedAllowed
AntibioticsNot AllowedAllowed
Growth hormonesNot AllowedAllowed
Sludge and irradiationNot AllowedAllowed
Animal welfare requirementsYesNo
Lower levels of environmental pollutionYesNo
Audit trail from farm to tableYesNo
Certificate required to be on pasture for pasture seasonYesNo
Cows required to be on pasture for pasture seasonYesNo
Legal restrictions on allowable materialYesNo

The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage healthy soil, water conservation, and to reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use harsh chemicals to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease, instead they apply sophisticated crop rotation methods and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay.

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Organic

By Tom Organic of Australia

1. To keep chemicals out of the air, water, soil and our bodies
The average conventionally grown apple has 20-30 artificial poisons on its skin, even after rinsing. Cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop in the world. Using 25% of the world’s total insecticides – they end up in the clothes we wear, the products we use, the soil and our waterways.

2. To protect future generations
The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Choosing organic ensures we are protecting the health of our children and the health of the planet we are leaving behind.

3. To encourage innovation
Organic producers are leaders in innovative research, they are leading the way, largely out of their own pockets, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

4. To support a true economy
On the surface organic foods might seem more expensive but conventional food prices don’t reflect hidden costs (paid through our taxes). These ‘hidden’ costs include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and cleanup, and environmental damage. For example the un-factored environmental and social costs of irrigating a head of lettuce is $2 to $3 more than what you pay!

5. To promote biodiversity
Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. This lack of natural diversity of plant life leaves the soil deficient in natural minerals and nutrients – chemical fertilizers need to be used to replace them. Visit an organic farm and you’ll notice something different: a buzz of animal, bird and insect activity.

The Status of Organic in Canada

Canada’s organic market grew to $3.5 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion. The value of the Canadian organic food market has tripled since 2006, far outpacing the growth rate of other agri-food sectors.

The sector is being driven by a diverse consumer base, with over half of all Canadians and two-thirds of British Columbians buying organic products every week.

Organic is more affordable than you think… according to the Canada Organic Trade Association, organic shoppers only spend $17.50 more per week than shoppers who choose conventional foods in Canada.

Learn More

View the National Highlights of Canada’s Organic Market here:

Learn more about Canada’s organic statistics here:

Compare Organic Versus Conventional Livestock Production: