Why Buy Organic Essential Oils?
There are several reasons to buy organic essential oils - or in fact, any organic produce for that matter. Many people assume that organic products are simply 'better', but until that's proven scientifically this statement could be considered speculation. It is quite likely that one day science will have the necessary equipment to identify all of the differences between organic and conventional produce and will be able to settle this matter. Until then, it could be argued it is simply a lifestyle choice for somebody to 'go organic', rather than the products are actually somehow better. But there is far more to choosing organic than this.
To appreciate the whole concept of 'organic', we need to understand why organic agriculture was developed in the first place. Until around 1940, all farming was naturally organic since synthetic pesticides and herbicides had not yet been developed, and almost as soon as the first generation of pesticides were introduced concerns were raised as to their safety. Hardly surprising, since highly toxic compounds such as hydrogen cyanide and arsenic were first used to control crop pests! Since these were mainly inaffective, synthetic compounds such as DDT were developed and were far more effective.
But even in the 1960's some experts began to question the wisdom of spraying synthetic chemicals on the food that we eat, and also warned of the probable damage to the planet's delicate ecosystems. By the 1980's it was discovered by scientists that these fears were well founded, but it has taken a very long time for the general populace to be informed of the devastating effects of these chemical agents. Pesticides are big business.
This is why organic agricultural was developed, and why farmers have been increasingly encouraged to convert to its practice. It is designed to be a safe and sustainable farming system, intended to produce healthy crops and livestock without causing damage to environment. The use of genetically modified organisms is also prohibited, as is the use of artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides on the land due to their harmful effect to wildlife and the environment.
Put simply, organic farming could perhaps be described as using methods of crop and animal husbandry that work in harmony with nature as opposed to dominating it. Using safer methods to develop healthy fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops, the farm remains biologically balanced. This in turn encourages a wide variety of beneficial insects and wildlife that will act as natural predators to crop pests and enrich the soil with micro-organisms.
Purely by coincidence, it seems to many people that organic food is tastier, and organic essential oils appear more therapeutic!
Biodiversity is the living element of the natural world, and it is vital that we work in harmony with Nature to maintain its delicate balance. A great deal of agricultural land has already been lost due to soil erosion, and in many places the overuse of aggressive agrochemicals has destroyed the delicate balance between wildlife and its natural habitat. Top soil takes hundreds of years to develop and can not be replaced easily.
The amount of pesticides sprayed on our food and land in one year has reached an estimated 4.5 billion litres in the United Kingdom alone. Pesticides do not only kill pests, they can also kill beneficial insects and plants and have a direct influence on the balance of the ecosystem. Many pesticides, especially the organophosphate and organochlorine family, do not break down very easily, and can be absorbed into the food chain and eventually eaten by humans. Only 10-15% of applied pesticides reaches the target pests, with 85-90% drifting downwind for up to a mile or more.
Diversity in nature
Organic agriculture helps to increase the level of biodiversity not only on the farm, but across the adjacent countryside. This is because it uses tried and tested traditional farming practices including varied crop rotation, mixed systems, permanent pasture, no agrochemicals, use of farmyard manure and good hedge management. Recent research has shown that this practice supports and nurtures the diversity of animals and plants in the countryside, providing them with food, refuge and a space to live and breed.
This is why we develop close working relationships with those growers who use traditional farming practices, in order to promote a more sustainable ecological environment for the future. Using traditional methods, the farm remains biologically balanced, encouraging a soil rich in bio-organisms whilst sustaining a wide variety of beneficial insects and wildlife that act as natural predators for crop pests.
By supporting our organic farmers we are able to help increase this level of biodiversity whilst also providing our customers with ecologically sound products. This will also provide arable farmers with a much needed alternative to non-food crops at a time when many farms are no longer able to compete with cheaper imports.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2000. Written by Geoff Lyth
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