When the prestigious Australian Government Analytical Laboratory finds vastly higher level of minerals in vegetables grown organically compared to those grown chemically, then that is hard evidence that organically-grown foods are nutritionally superior.

The Organic Retailers and Growers Association of Australia (ORGAA) conducted a study that compares six mineral levels of four vegetables. Samples of beans, tomatoes, capsicum and silverbeet (‘Spinach) were taken from both certified organic farm and supermarket chain and were sent to the government laboratories for analysis of calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron and zinc levels. See these results tabulated below.

On average the organically grown vegetables were 10 times higher in minerals than the supermarket samples. Some were higher and the zinc level in silverbeet was 228 times higher.

So how important are these higher levels of minerals? The Natural Health Society of Australia opinions that even on a  good diet, low in junk foods, many people will not be getting sufficient minerals unless the foods are organically grown.

Plants require over 20 minerals, more than are supplied by chemical fertilisers. Artificial fertilisers tend to inhibit the uptake of other soils nutrients and the unbalanced nutrient supply can cause deficiencies, eg: increased potassium uptake can depress magnesium levels.

Beans

Minerals

Organic

Supermarket

Times Higher (NOT %)

Calcium

480

40

12.0

Potassium

1 900

260

7.3

Magnesium

240

26

10.0

Sodium

<10

<1

10.0

Iron

<5

0.6

8.3

Zinc

3.4

0.38

8.9

 

Tomatoes

Minerals

Organic

Supermarket

Times Higher (NOT %)

Calcium

67

6.7

10.0

Potassium

300

200

1.5

Magnesium

89

10

8.9

Sodium

2.6

2.4

1.1

Iron

<5

<0.5

10.0

Zinc

1.2

0.19

6.3

  

Capsicum

Minerals

Organic

Supermarket

Times Higher (NOT %)

Calcium

84

4.7

17.9

Potassium

1 600

150

10.7

Magnesium

700

11

63.6

Sodium

20

<1

20.0

Iron

<5

0.5

10.0

Zinc

2.5

0.13

19.2

 

Silverbeet

Minerals

Organic

Supermarket

Times Higher (NOT %)

Calcium

1 600

65

24.6

Potassium

2 600

450

5.8

Magnesium

1 700

69

24.6

Sodium

1 800

180

10.0

Iron

9.4

1.4

6.7

Zinc

130

0.57

228.0

  

Source: New Vegetarian and Natural Health Autumn 2000 Page34

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I love finding stories about organic farmers like this one in Star-Gazette.com

Kingbird Farm produces certified organic produce, beef, pigs, chickens, eggs, herbs and a lot more.
"What is really important is the fact that we are a diverse, small family farm. Everything we produce is real and wholesome - organic is not a marketing ploy," Karma Glos said.

Muckraking pigs make mulch. On the Kingbird Farm in Berkshire pigs do what pigs do best. The porkers are put in a pen filled with compost material - cow dung, horse poop and other bio-degradable material. On top of a layer of clean straw, the pigs rock and roll and root through the compost. They poke and pack the muck and compact the pile into a nutrient-filled mulch for use in nourishing the soil.

This natural process suits the organic farm just fine.

Karma and Michael Glos purchased 100 acres of hilltop in Berkshire. Much of it is beautiful forest; other parts look like rocks could be the major crop. They took the land and designed it into a well-organized and profitable business.

"We worked at building a sound structure, experimenting with different techniques and crops and staying out of debt," he said. "It takes a lot of planning to find year-round markets to keep the farm solvent." The Gloses have been in business for 10 years. They share what they learn with other farmers and encourage visitors to spend time looking at everything on the farm.

"We give farm tours, entertain school groups and Cornell University classes. We are truly proud of our farm and respect our customers and visitors enough to want them to see every aspect of our production.

"Anything we can do to promote a healthier cleaner world we will talk about," Karma said.
Both Michael and Karma often speak in the community and write articles for newspapers and magazines promoting organic farming.

Karma also has written two books giving advice on raising organic poultry. The Gloses' chickens are grown free-range, and both the laying hens and the boilers are raised without the use of medication. "The green rotating pastures and the organic feed give the eggs a deep orange yolk and exceptional taste," Karma said.

Michael said farming is a good life, especially with all the modern marketing tools.

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