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What Does Organic Mean, Anyway?

For many people making choices to seek out organic products is only for other people who have the resources and the time.  Competing research exists everywhere.  Some studies claim we are healthier if we consume organic food.  Other studies claim it doesn’t make any difference.  Some studies claim dangerous chemicals are being absorbed through our skin because of the personal care products we are using.  Others claim our skin filters those chemicals and they never make it into our bodies.  In the world of fighting experts it is tempting to just throw up our hands in confusion. 

It can be difficult to make the choice to seek out organic food and other products and to make organic choices.  Add in the confusing and often conflicting labels and names that exist in the market place and it can be even harder to know if you are really getting what you paid for.   How can you know?  Who can you trust?

With all of the confusion and competing interests, when we formed Makes 3 we decided to go back to the basics and learn for ourselves what it means to be organic.  When starting from the beginning, we always consult our dictionaries.  Here is some of what Google has to say about what the word organic means:

or·gan·ic 

adjective

  • of, relating to, or derived from living matter
  • (of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents
  • denoting a relation between elements of something such that they fit together harmoniously as necessary parts of a whole characterized by continuous or natural development

origin

Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek organikos relating to an organ or instrument.

So really what we are talking about when we use the word organic is nature.  It means that the food we eat is natural, that the products we are putting on our bodies is natural, that we are living natural lives. 

But why did the modern use of this term arise?  Why is it necessary to call one apple “organic” while the other isn’t?  Why is one carrot “organic” while the other is “conventional” and why would one soap be labeled organic and the other talks about how soap is bad?  Why do we even need these distinctions?  Tune in to our video blogs and blogs in the coming weeks while we explore how we got where we are today.

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