How Much of a Difference Does Organic Food Make?

As a father, I’ll do just about anything for my kids. But one thing I won’t do is put non-organic meals on their plates. As a farmer, I see firsthand the big differences between food produced organically and food that isn’t. The differences aren’t only about what’s best for our children’s bodies – they also have a lot to do with what’s right for the planet that feeds us in the first place.

I’ve always known that I wanted to feed people food that I grew myself, I just didn’t know how to do it and keep my own family fed in the process. To find a way to turn that passion into a viable financial opportunity, I worked at farms all over the country to see how they did it. I went to all kinds of places and met all kinds of people and started to notice a pattern. More frequently than not, farmers and their livestock both seemed to be struggling with their health.

Food Chemicals Feed Farm Misery

It seemed to me that the health problems originated in farming practices. On the farms that weren’t using synthetic pesticides, the livestock was healthy as could be and farmers were living long, healthy lives. On the farms using pesticides regularly, I heard countless stories of sickness, and the financial picture wasn’t much healthier either.

I grew up in farm country where they regularly sprayed pesticides, and even my own family started to suffer. Suddenly it seemed like everyone in the agriculture community had some sort of health problem, and it became clear to me that the way we conventionally grow food may be doing more harm than good. If nothing else, it’s simply a better business model to have your customers live longer lives. That’s why our food system needs to move toward a different way of thinking. And that includes healthy, organic foods produced without synthetic pesticides.

I founded Tractor Beverage as a way to bring this different way of thinking to everybody from farmers to families to businesses. Everything our company makes shares one main ingredient – the idea that small, simple choices like sipping an organic drink at dinner can make a difference. How big a difference does organic make? That’s what I started to wonder, too.

Spraying oranges with synthetic pesticides

Measuring What Organics Save the Planet and Our Families

So I decided to find out. Tractor created a tool we refer to as our Organic Impact Tracker. It’s a new way to show our partners, our customers, and the rest of the world how much healthier they’re leaving the planet every time they choose one of our organic fountain drinks at a restaurant. And I think it’s the kind of story every organic food company should be telling.

We partnered with the best scientists and data analysts in the business to develop a tool to measure what matters most to us: soil health improvements, the amount of organic land we support, the amount of water we save, and even the carbon dioxide emissions prevented by sourcing our ingredients organically instead of conventionally. All of these measurements are important, but we developed a proprietary tool to track and measure the amount of synthetic pesticides we prevent from entering the food system.

In my two decades of experience, I saw synthetic pesticides harm farmers as well as their land, and they’re doing the same thing to our families. Stopping this cycle is the reason I started growing organic. Tracking this organic impact data lets our customers see how much they’re contributing to healthier land and food, too.

Growing Something Better Together

There are a bunch of complicated formulas involved, but what our Organic Impact Tracker lets us do is super simple. Now we can add up all of the drinks we’re pouring and see the impact they’ve had on kicking pesticides out of our diets. The results are pretty eye-opening. So far, our customers have prevented nearly 47 tons of synthetic pesticides from entering our food supply, all from consumers deciding to drink organic beverages.

With every Tractor beverage poured, the numbers tick a little higher. Thanks to the tracker, we can see the revolution happening in real time, and it’s moving a lot faster than I ever thought it could. Together, organic farmers and organic fans are building a better future one serving at a time. I’ll drink to that!

About the  Author

Since 2000, organic farmer Travis Potter has been a leader in the organic and non-GMO food movement, pioneering an organic beef ranch and artisan meat company, organic added-value dairy, functional organic beverages, organic food service ice cream, frozen yogurt, and non-dairy desserts. In 2014, Potter turned his attention to fast food and launched Tractor Beverage Company, the first and only certified organic, non-GMO full-line beverage solution for food service.