Organic Farming 101: What is the Dirty Dozen?



Support for the organic farming industry has been growing significantly over the past few years. With consumers becoming more aware of how big a role chemicals play in the growth of their food, more people are looking to choose the cleaner option in the food that they buy, which is where organic products come in. 

However, there is no denying the fact that organic products are significantly costlier than their non-organic alternatives, which is why it is very important that you educate yourself on some of the nuances of the organic farming industry. 

For someone who can only afford to buy some of their products organically, you have to be selective about which products to buy organic, and which ones to buy non-organic. This is where the concept of the “Dirty Dozen” comes in. 

The “Dirty Dozen” refers to a dozen fruits and vegetables that contain high traces of pesticides and other chemicals. These are the products that you should be prioritizing if you are unable to shift your entire grocery list to organic products.

Here is the full list of the “Dirty Dozen”:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, collard, and mustard greens
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Bell and hot Peppers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes

The importance of avoiding non-organic versions of these products is due to the number of pesticides that are found on the surface of these products. Since these are products that are eaten raw, by ingesting non-organic versions of these, you will end up ingesting those chemicals as well. 

Avoiding pesticides is especially critical for babies and children, according to experts, because of the damage they can cause to the developing brain. A 2020 study found an increase in IQ loss and intellectual disability in children due to exposure to organophosphates, a common class of pesticides.

When it comes to supporting the organic farming industry, it can be hard to make an overall lifestyle shift, especially due to the cost difference between organic and non-organic products. However, you cannot disregard the fact that you have to make changes to your lifestyle in order to have the best quality of life.

By taking the time and effort to educate yourself about things like these, you will find that it is more than possible to make important lifestyle changes that can make a huge difference in the quality of your life, all while still supporting the organic industry. Keep in mind that showing your support does not necessarily mean overhauling your lifestyle. Small, actionable steps like this can make a world of difference for you and your family. 

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