Answer: Mostly yes, but it strongly depends on the used fertilizer.
There’s a saying from Michael Pollan that goes, “Came from a plant, eat it; was made in a plant, don’t.” This summarizes what the debate is. While it seems like a simple argument, we need to understand the broader subject to resolve it. We need to answer the first question: what is considered organic food, and what’s conventional (non organic)?
Organic food is produced with no man-made fertilizers, pesticides, additives. The soil on which organic food is harvested must be free of these chemicals for at least 3 years. Also, the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) is prohibited. On the other side, we have conventional farming (non organic). That means usage of man-made chemicals are used during the farming process. Let’s first start with the difference between conventional and organic food.
Now let’s cross-examine conventional and organic food so we can put this debate to bed.
Conventional vs. Organic food
It’s in human nature to stand for something we believe in. This often creates opposing views. The debate around conventional and organic food is another example of this dividing character flaw we nurture. What are the differences between conventional and organic, and why should we eat one over the other.
Three differences between conventional and organic food
- Different farming process
Conventional farming uses artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and additives to achieve optimal results. This means having a bigger and better-looking product but also a more lasting one. On the contrary organic farming uses no man-made fertilizers, pesticides, and additives. This comes at the expense of the shelf life of these products. But the quality is unquestionable.
- Soil fertilizing
In conventional farming, a tiny portion of animal waste is used. Therefore alternative fertilizing techniques and products are applied to stem the growth. Organic food instead uses soil fertilizers provided by animal and plant waste, such as manure, bone meal, and fish and blood meal.
- Animal farming
Conventionally farmed animals have one purpose: maximum production. This often creates unpleasant living conditions. While, with organically farmed animals, their quality of life isn’t compromised. Instead, the animals are taken care of and are free to roam, while conventionally farmed animals are always locked.
To eat or not to eat
When all of the above is considered, you can easily conclude that organic food is far more suited for vegans. But is it really!?
When asking yourself whether, as a vegan, you can eat conventional food (non organic), you need to think about the reasons which lead you to pursue this way of life. Let’s list and elaborate one by one.
A healthier way of life
Is organic healthier than conventional food?
Organic food is healthier than conventional one. There’s a straightforward reason for that: restricted use of man-made fertilizers. Also, organic food contains a much lower pesticide level. Evidence shows that common pesticides reduce cognitive function.
Besides man-made fertilizers, pesticides, additives, organic agriculture prohibits GMO crops, sewage sludge, and irradiation. Also, the animal waste used in organic farming needs to be from organically farmed animals.
On one side, you have conventional farming, which is not restricted. On the other side, organic farming prohibits pretty much everything that is potentially bad for your health.
The enormous use of pesticides in conventional farming leads to poisoning not only the soil but rivers, lakes, and in the end, wildlife. This makes it very difficult for vegans to consume the food, which leads to the endangerment of animal habitats. This makes conventional food terrible for the environment.
While you were reading the above, you may question yourself what you can actually eat?
There is a simple solution under the name of VEGANIC. Namely, this is the next level of organic farming. Veganic agriculture is solely based on plant fertilizing techniques. Same as organic, veganic agriculture doesn’t use pesticides, chemical fertilizers, nor GMO. But that is not where they stop. Veganic agriculture goes another mile in protecting the animals and the environment.
Veganic agriculture renounces the use of any animal products as fertilizers. Usage of blood meal, bone meal, feather meal, fish meal, fish emulsion, shrimp compost, and manure is forbidden.
Some vegans will tell you that they eat non-organic food because it doesn’t use animal products during farming, and it’s cheaper. But is the only reason you became vegan not to eat animals? What about their habitat? And what about your health and the environment? Suppose you want to be a dedicated vegan, and I mean true vegan. In that case, you shouldn’t support food production, leading to the destruction of animal habitats.