Seems that the scientists have finally proven something that any WWOOFer worth their salt has known, instinctively, for ages! Namely, that organically produced food has more nutritional value than non-organically produced food.
"For a lot of people, organic food has always been their first choice, for a number of reasons. However, before now, it has been hard to find scientific evidence that it may be more nutritionally valuable. Now, with a ground-breaking study from the University of Newcastle on the differences in organic crops compared to conventional farming methods, the key findings speak for themselves:
Farming method affects quality: The analysis is the most extensive and reliable to date and clearly supports the view that the quality of food is influenced by the way it is produced.
More antioxidants: Organic crops (cereals, fruit and vegetables) have significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants/(poly)phenolics compared with non-organic produced counterparts. This includes more phenolics (19% higher), flavanones (69% higher), stilbenes (28% higher), flavones (26% higher), and flavonols (50% higher). A switch to consuming organic crops would allow a 20-40% increase in antioxidant/(poly)phenolics consumption without an increase in calorie intake.
Fewer pesticides: The frequency of occurrence of detectable pesticide residues is four times higher in non-organic crops. Non-organic fruit had the highest pesticide frequency (75%), compared to non-organic vegetables (32%) and non-organic crop based processed foods (45%). By contrast pesticide residues were found in 10% of organic crop samples.
Less cadmium: The analysis detected 48% lower concentrations of the toxic heavy metal cadmium in organic crops.
Less nitrogen: Nitrogen concentrations - linked in some studies to an increased risk of certain cancers such as stomach cancer – were found to be significantly lower in organic crops."
Read more about the study, and where you can find a local organic veg box scheme, here: http://www.soilassociation.org/organicisdifferent