A beginner's guide to organic food
Open any newspaper and you are sure to find news relating to heavy use of pesticides and other chemical poisons which can lead to health hazards and even hasten death. However although these newspaper articles inform us of the current, sad state of affairs, they do not really given an answer to what we should be eating.
Many believe that organic food is an answer. Organic farming and organic food might be all the rage across the world, but the trend is yet to catch on here and so we are giving you a beginner's guide to organic food in the city.
What is organic food?
What is all that fuss really about? Well, the term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Specific requirements are met to maintain the products for them to be labelled as "organic".
Organic crops are grown in safe soil, without modifications, and are kept separate from conventional products. Farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilisers, and sewage sludge-based fertilisers.
Why go for organic food?
Do they have more nutrients than regular vegetables? Even though some studies suggest that organically grown fruits and vegetables may contain slightly higher levels of vitamin C, trace minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients than conventionally grown produce, there is no concrete evidence of the nutritional difference between them and non-organic food.
Why go for them then?
Well, organic foods do not have the deadly poisons used as pesticides, and thus better for children and pregnant women. If that isn't the only reason, organic food is often fresher than the regular produce you get at the kitchen markets, although we won't argue that it is always the case over here.
One merit that they do have though, is that they are very environment friendly -- farming organic can help reduce pollution, conserve water, increase soil fertility and reduce the impact agriculture has on the planet.
Where to get it?
Although it might seem unlikely that people would be farming organic in Bangladesh, where quantity is usually the last word, there are a few organisations running organic farms, and the produce are available at your local super shop.
Meena bazaar has a few items they label as organic, such as organic Hogra potatoes sold at around Tk.44 per kilogram, organic Balam rice at Tk.73 per kilogram, organic dheki-chhata rice at Tk.99 per kilogram, along with sesame oil for Tk.384 per litre and organic ghee, 350 gram of which would cost you about Tk.640. Granted these are not the most bought items in your cart, but these are at least a step towards living a bit healthier.
Apart from them, you have Shashya Prabartana and Proshika selling organic food items, the former focusing on the grain foods while the latter sells vegetables from their Tangail organic farms.
A mix of Kalijira, Kumari, Biroi, Binni, Tulsimala, Banshiraaj, Balam, Radhuni Paagol, Abchhaya, Modhushail, Chamara, Shorshori, Pakri, Shishumoti, Porangi, Begun Bichi, Shaheb Chikon and Digha, lentils, atta, spices, mustard oil, puffed rice, molasses, potatoes, etc. are sold at Shashya Prabartana's outlet in Mohammedpur. A great feature is their online sales at prabartana.com, where you can pick and choose your favourite organic food without a worry.
By Tasnima Haque Orin