Should vegans really eat organic foods?

by Anonymous

I recently started working in the farming industry. I have learned several things about organic farming that make me realize it is not nearly as great as most vegans think it is. In general, organic farming requires the use of large amounts of animal waste product as fertilizer - whether manure, chicken blood, fish slurry, or in other forms. This animal waste is most often supplied by "conventional" animal farms. In fact, without the large factory farms full of mistreated animals that we love to hate, organic farming as it exists today would not be viable. I don't think most vegans would be as enthusiastic about eating organic foods if they knew it relied on the mass destruction and mistreatment or animals to grow it. Perhaps a new classification of foods is needed that are vegan friendly....

Also, your site says, "Organic foods are those that are made without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones." However, that is not accurate. Organic food production uses pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and chemicals - just not synthetic chemicals. Often the same chemicals used in conventional farming are used in organic farming, just in a naturally occurring form or derived from natural (organic or inorganic) ingredients. Many of these chemicals are still dangerous to humans, animals, and insects. There are even quite a few synthetic chemicals / substances approved for use in "organic" farming.

As a vegan, I'm not sure if it is better to buy organic produce or conventional produce. At least conventional produce doesn't use animal wastes, but it does use some harsher chemicals. In the end maybe the only safe option is for vegans to grow our own food or develop our own certification.

Question: What do you think?

Answer: Thank you so much for your post, and for all this great, insightful information. You raise really good points and I think this discussion will add quite a bit to our site.

Indeed, I agree that the term "organic" has certainly denegrated into something much less than what most people expect when they but it. Because so many people hope to be conscientious shoppers nowadays, "organic" has become a huge industry, leading to money-making measures.

The term "organic" started as a way to distinguish between crops grown with traditional, age-old measures of farming (including crop rotation, fertilization with organic materials like animal manure and those based on producing a crop as quickly as possible with synthetic measures such as genetic modification, fungicides, pesticides, etc. Oddly enough, the more conventional farming came to be known as "organic" and the less conventional as "conventional."

As a vegan who enjoys trying to grow her own crops, I have had issues trying to find my own soil and fertilizer not made with fish blood and bones, chicken poop, and everything else under the sun. You are right that even at Home Depot, most of the "organic" foods are made with those materials, and I realized immediately that those would have come from factory farms. It's such a disaster. Because the food industry has been so violated in the last 50 years, everything is a mess.

It becomes very overwhelming to try to live and eat according to one's values, and very often I resolve the same thing... the only safe, compassionate way to live is to grow your own food. While some have the luxury to do just that, others of us are stuck making some sacrifices, and I think it falls on each individual to figure out where they personally want to draw the line.

My personal recommendation is to get as much produce as possible from a local farmer's market and grow anything you possibly can. Even though most of our local "organic" are going to have used organic fertilizers like manure, my hope is that they have used manure from their own family farms where their animals are treated with dignity. At least then I can be sure that the seeds have not been genetically manipulated and countless species of bugs and animals are not being killed off by the pollution caused by the synthetic agents used to improve crop results.

Thank you for making a great point. Also, thank you for your suggestion about my definition of organic. I will update that to make it more clear.

Comments for Should vegans really eat organic foods?

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by: Daniel

I feel that vegans would be better to stay of organic, I have a friend called Thomas who was in the hospital for a month because he is vegan and only ate organic for 3 months as a test.

Conventional farming is far more cruel and unsustainable
by: ES

When we consider that an estimated 67 million birds (plus many other animals) are killed with pesticides (mainly on farms) in the US every year, it's unconscionable for ethical vegans to consume nonorganic foods. The best thing is for us to grow as much food as possible (community garden plots are available for those who live without access to soil at home), using fertilizers like homemade compost, with additional flax seed meal (for nitrogen), kelp (for potassium), & rock phosphate (for phosphorus), as needed. But we can also buy from small local farms at farmers markets, and food co-ops also often sell produce from small farmers that recycle nutrients on their farms. It may not as perfect as growing your own, but it's much better than the atrocities that go on in conventional farming.

Veganic farming
by: Sam

Another option is "veganic" farming, which is organic farming without the use of animal products. Unfortunately it is a practice with a small following and small distribution. It is also difficult to do; the two farmers I know that strive to be veganic will often resort to blood-meal or conventional pesticides if they have to. Hopefully one day the practice will advance enough to be viable and grow enough to be accessible, but for now it is a small thing. So if you want veganic food it means finding local farmers committed to the practice. It may be expensive and inconvenient for now but it is hopefully the future of farming.

My 12 year old is autistic and a vegan
by: Anonymous

Mmy 12 year old is autism and a vegan, which is his choice. Trying to feed him is a nightmare, he was eating salad and vegetables,he has now stopped eating these now because he believes that they are sprayed with a shellfish Base spray,he has no trust in anything about vegan any more and even if it says on the packaging he don't believe it. He is now under the local authority because he his starving himself to death he hasn't eaten for nearly 2 weeks and will need to go into hospital against his will. Is there any body there who can help him what to eat before it is to late thank you. From a desperate parent esc

Vegan vs organic
by: Duaa

Thank you so so for all the information you stated I wanna take ur opinion on Seth which one you suggest to take n better a vega vitamin or organic vitamin thank you

this should not be happening
by: Anonymous

If your certified organic farmer is using manure from a conventional farm he/she is not compliant. Find another farmer.

Non-organic pesticide and animal testing
by: Megan

I guess what is worse? The chemicals used in pesticides for non-organic products are tested on animals to determine the amount that is 'safe for human consumption'. What causes more cruelty? We need an affirmative.

Whats the alternative?
by: John

Would you rather have conventionally grown crops, which will use the animal waste products and be sprayed with pesticides killing millions of insects??

by: Anonymous

I would look into various forms of making bio-char. It's not only highly fertile and renewable, but also helps sequester carbon. Some methods involve bone char and manure, but you can also make similar substances with wood and plant refuse.

There is more to this!!!!!
by: LyNel Como

Mother Earth Magazine put two articles in about pestisides, hormones & antibiotics in fertalizers & compost. Sorry about the spellings. I don't think organic farmers pay attention to this part of soil amendments.

Great Article ~ Here is another view for the consumer
by: Chef Mayra

Organic farming methods combine scientific knowledge of ecology and modern technology with traditional farming practices based on naturally occurring biological processes. Organic farming methods are studied in the field of agroecology. While conventional agriculture uses synthetic pesticides and water-soluble synthetically purified fertilizers, organic farmers are restricted by regulations to using natural pesticides and fertilizers. The principal methods of organic farming include crop rotation, green manures and compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation. These measures use the natural environment to enhance agricultural productivity: legumes are planted to fix nitrogen into the soil, natural insect predators are encouraged, crops are rotated to confuse pests and renew soil, and natural materials such as potassium bicarbonate and mulches are used to control disease and weeds. Organic farmers are careful in their selection of plant breeds, and organic researchers produce hardier plants through plant breeding rather than genetic engineering.

But.. I would LOVE to know more about the other view.
There are some possibilities of validity
on the article as far as waste.
Some farming ethics are not following the compliances guidelines.
SO is possible to see how this can be ?

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