Photo Credit: Stuart Clarke

Photo Credit: Stuart Clarke

Last week, world-renowned primatologist and conservationist, Jane Goodall, spoke at the University of Missouri. I was sitting in the fourth row, looking up at the remarkable Goodall, who at age 80 has a sharp mind and clear message:  let’s join together and take action to protect our planet. On  Goodall’s global speaking tour, she hopes to inspire and empower people to make a difference.

How? Let’s rethink how we eat and farm. Goodall spoke of “horrific factory farms, “warned that our era of antibiotics is “just about over” – due to “the huge amount fed to livestock,” and wondered why we would think it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons.

Below are five reasons why making an investment in organic food may be the best strategy for protecting our health and our planet’s future:

  1. Climate change. Unlike conventional farming, organic agriculture is “regenerative” — it sequesters carbon, uses less energy, produces less greenhouse gases, and is more resilient under extreme weather conditions.
  2. Superior nutrition. Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in organic, grass-fed meat and dairy  enhance brain and eye development and mental health, while reducing risk for heart disease and diabetes. Organic produce has significantly higher levels of antioxidants, which help prevent a wide range of chronic diseases.
  3. Fewer poisons. Children are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of pesticides, and diet is their primary route of exposure. By feeding children organic food, we reduce their exposure to pesticides and heavy metals.
  4. Preserving antibiotics. Organic livestock may not receive antibiotics, thereby protecting against antibiotic resistance and preserving these precious drugs to save lives.
  5. Conservation. Organic farming, by legal definition, promotes biodiversity, soil integrity and water quality, and “enhances ecological harmony.”

Goodall believes “every single one of us makes a difference.”

Let’s start with the food on our plates.