Why does Organic Food cost more than Conventional Food?

conventional versus organic food

A new friend asked me ‘Why do you eat organic food since it is so expensive?’ and ‘How come organic food is so expensive?’ This is a common question for my family and me, so I thought I would give a detailed answer here.

My family and I eat organic food in support of our health and the health of the planet since organic farming does not pollute the waterways like conventional farming. Indeed, I have learned how to buy organic food inexpensively but to answer the second question directly below are some of the reasons why organic food does cost more than conventional food.

(Read to the end and find out how to stretch your healthy food budget).

Why organic food costs more than conventional food?

Limits on pesticide usage

Organic farmers use natural pesticides. For example, a farmer can release ladybugs onto some plants to help ‘eat up’ the aphids who want to eat the plants but the use of ladybugs and other insects does not help the farmer deal with weeds that try to strangle their crop. Instead the organic farmer must hand weed instead of spraying their crop with man made chemicals. This choice is clearly a more time consuming and labor intensive method of farming which creates more cost for the farmer – a cost he or she needs to pass on to the consumer. The good news is that the organic farmer’s lack of use of chemical pesticides helps protect the quality of our water supply.

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Limits on land yield

Organic farmers use crop rotation to keep their soil healthy. Instead of planting the highest financial yield crop each year they rotate crops and plant ‘cover crops’ that are plowed into the ground to improve the soil’s nutrients for long term usage. This reduces the overall land yield for an organic farm and the lessened supply increases prices on the market but in the long term keeps the land’s ability to produce going. Organic farming is sustainable agriculture.

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Cost of feed

Organic feed for cattle and other animals is more expensive than conventional feed because the feed itself must be third party certified organic or the animal can not be certified as raised organically.

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Cost of Seed

Organic Seeds must be third party certified organic or the plant it creates will not be certified organic. The current rarity of organic seeds leads to their cost being at a premium for the farmer and therefore leading to a more expensive end product.

Genetically modified seeds are not permitted for use in organic farming programs.

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Cost of certification

Certifying food as organic also involves additional administrative costs including maintaining a continuous paper trail for tracking of the food production – a requirement to maintain organic certification.

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Lack of Subsidies

Currently organic farmers in most areas throughout the world do not receive money in the form of government funding or tax rebates to help to grow their crops. These special types of funding are often called subsidies. Typically, conventional farmers currently receive subsidies. The lack of subsidies available to organic farmers increases the cost of organic farming and the cost is passed on to the consumer.

 

It is worth noting that even if organic food is more expensive than conventionally produced food organic farming avoids the negative impact of chemical pesticides on human and planetary wellness. So your extra money helps support future generations.

 

Above is an exert from volume one of ‘How to Buy Organic Food Inexpensively’ an e-book that gives you tips to save money and information to help you understand better what organic food is all about.

 

Check out the e-book on organics and then check out my free resource section to get yourself a free copy of ‘Stretch Your Healthy Food Budget’.

Your friend on the journey,

David