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Honk If You Love Organics!

“It’s only natural to be organic” “I (heart) organics” “Powered by organic food” From Brooklyn to Santa Monica and Kansas City in between, you’ve likely seen the bumper stickers, bought something organic (intentionally or not) and perhaps looked for organic options during your grocery shop. But what does "organic" actually mean, again?

Organic? It’s like…you know…

“Organic” may be one of those terms that you know the meaning of but it’s sure difficult to concisely explain it aloud. Here’s a refresher: organic agriculture is a production method that emphasizes the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality.

So what does that entail? Organic food products are produced using:

  • Agricultural management practices that promote healthy eco-systems and prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds or crops, sewage sludge, long-lasting pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
  • Livestock management practices that promote healthy animals by providing organically-grown feed, fresh air and outdoor access while using no antibiotics or added growth hormones.
  • Food processing practices that protect the integrity of the organic product and disallow irradiation, genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) or synthetic preservatives.
Still with me? Okay, good. Let’s get to the root (sorry, I can’t help it) and heart of the matter – people and the planet. Here are five simple reasons that I (and many others) reach for organics:

1. People. From the folks that grow and harvest our produce to those that are eating it, you and the farmers can have peace of mind knowing that organic standards prohibit toxic and persistent chemicals, irradiation and genetic modification.

2. Wildlife. Organic farming encourages an abundance of species living in balanced, harmonious ecosystems. The use of beneficial insects and plants instead of potentially harmful chemicals supports the environment and helps protect birds and bees!

3. Soil. Organic farming practices build healthy soils nurtured with organic matter. Rotating crops and planting beneficial cover crops rather than using petroleum-based synthetic fertilizers supports the balance of microorganisms in the soil.

4. Water. From rivers to streams to our drinking water, organic farming helps protect our water resources from chemical and fertilizer runoff.

5. Air. Organic farming helps protect the air from potentially toxic and persistent chemicals and pollutants.


Naturally confusing

What’s the difference between natural and organic? Are organics healthier, tastier and more expensive? What are the most popular organic products?

Learn more by visiting our organics: frequently asked questions and answers page.

You want ‘em. We got em’

Do you “Honk for Organics” or just want to check out what the noise is about? You won’t find a bigger selection than at our stores.

As the first nationally certified organic grocer in the US, we’ve got organics in every aisle, from produce (keep your eye out for extraordinary organic berries and other fruit this summer) to meat and poultry to drinks, snacks and pantry staples, artisan cheeses, dairy, body care (yup, lotions and lip balm can be organic too) and much more.

If you seek out (and love!) organics, what’s your top motivator – health, taste, food safety or something else? I’d love to hear what drives your decision.

Editor’s Note: This blog was modified on 9/22/15 to update how we refer to our standards.

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Kathy Ogden says …

People would ask me why I drove 20 miles to my nearest Whole Foods. My response was "20 miles isn't very far to drive to get the kind of food that my family deserves". I grateful that Whole Foods just opened a store close to me. The money I save in gas will buy more great organic food!

Lakshmi says …

I buy organic fruits,veggies mainly. It protects us from getting dreaded diseases like cancer .Pesticides are poisonous not only to the pests but to all living beings on earth now and for many more years . We are what we eat and where we live . I believe that eating organic food and breathing fresh air (plenty of trees) is the only guarantee to good health .

Karen says …

I buy almost everything organic. However, I would still rather buy local if I had no choice, rather than buy organic food from certain countries. WHERE your organic produce is being grown really matters. I noticed a couple of years ago that one popular brand of frozen fruit and veggies comes from China. I stopped buying it immediately. Why? I had seen a program on PBS showing how horrible the water is there. Even though they may not have pesticides added to the produce, having foaming, green, toxic waste type water is far worse for you. It was absolutely shocking. It was so laden with corrosive chemicals that they could not even use it for construction purposes, and the people in the more arid regions protested when they began diverting the water to them thru manmade rivers. Imagine this being used on your organic produce. No thanks.

Adina says …

I teach Foods and Nutrition at the high school level, and my students always ask if organic is "healthier". My reply is that it is, from the point of view of keeping toxins out of our bodies and the ecosystem, but beware! Just because something is organic does not mean it is the best choice from a nutritional viewpoint. There are plenty of organic foods that are too high in fat, sugar and sodium. But if you are going to make those food choices anyway, then yes, organic "unhealthy" food is the lesser of two evils.

St. McDuck says …

I've been buying all my food organic since last October and have noticed a great deal of difference in my overall health, mood, and peace of mind. The switch to all-organic also led me to discover numerous organic food companies that I would not have tried otherwise. I was able to replace personal staples of mine like bread, peanut butter, oatmeal, salsa, crackers, frozen fruit, granola, eggs and milk with organic brands that are now my new trusted, family-friendly, go-to brands. Now if California can pass the GMO labeling proposition in November, maybe organic food can finally be fully embraced by mainstream America.

Pam says …

Thank goodness for Whole Foods. Living in Az, it is hard to get fresh produce that is ORGANIC from the Farmer's Market(super in the fall, winter and spring, though)as they use the triple digit weather to turn over soil, etc. I just wish you could get more organic produce (watermelons, cantelopes and red and yellow peppers, etc. from the US during the cooler months, and not 'south of the border!' More frozen veggies and fruits from the US and not from out of the country (i.e., China). Thanks

Benedictus says …

To avoid GMO's!! Period.

Tricia Marcus says …

Organic foods are worth crusading for, but why is the rest of Whole Foods so packed with sugar? Even in the bakery it's hard to find whole grain, sugarless items such as I used to buy regularly at Bread & Circus for instance.

Lindsay Parkerson says …

I grew up on a lot of homemade food and it wasn't organic. My mother taught me to eat right and when I finally became aware of organic foods and the true difference between conventional, processed food and organic, I started switching. After becoming a mother, I gradually become more and more adamant about my child consuming foods that are higher in nutrition and free of the "bad stuff". After a lot of reading, education, and the drive to live a healthier lifestyle I am hooked on organic foods and love Whole Foods. I feel that so many are either ignorant, uninformed, or that they think that those who shop at Whole Foods are either elitists or wealthy. That is not always the case. It isn't just a trend. This is a lifestyle than anyone can adopt-eating organics because the difference is based on facts and we all need to be aware of what we consume.

cynthia says …

I really appreciate availability/variety of organic foods at Whole Foods. As a child, I would develop "mystery" rashes after I enjoyed eating various fresh fruits. Years later, my own child had similar rashes following consumption of fresh fruits (strawberries... greatest offender!) and canned soups. I purchase 99& 9/10's of our families food, snacks, cleaning supplies, paper goods, etc at Whole Foods (since the opening of Whole Food's in Devon, PA). My now grown-up daughter also shops at Whole Foods. We are both very happy and satisfied to find sustainable, local, organic foods and products available in the produce aisle, dairy and freezer aisles, meat and poultry counters, etc. Freshness, origins and handling of what we consume is important to us; so is the health of our planet.

Deb Gremour says …

Thank you to all organic farmers, in how you take courageous steps against the growing rather quickly gmo world! I am so unbelievable thankful everytime my children hold a fresh non toxic fuit or veg in their hands, that's one of the most beautiful things to see!! A masterpiece that should be painted for all farmers worldwide! !!! Thank you thank you forever you keep America and the world the way GOD made it to be. Good Luck in all you do, Praise GOD. Amen. Deb

petunia says …

YES! YES!! ORGANIC IS THE RIGHT WAY!! Thanks to Whole foods that seems to be one of the only 2 companies in the USA that help us to control the GMO. to control the real thing of what organic is. Yes I will HONK and I say THANK YOU WHOLE FOODS and keep fighting with all of us and for all of us.

Lyn says …

I love Whole Foods and the produce selection, but I agree with the other comment above on the bakery. High sugar content, processed flours, etc. Would love to see more local, organic wheat farmers used and better homemade selections of muffins and breads.

Michelle says …

Not only do I buy all my products and foods at Whole Foods but I own a lounge and all the food I serve is organic and I buy that at Whole Foods. I feel like I am giving my family and I the best chance at living a healthy, long life by eating organic and also making the earth a better place for future generations. I can say that my nine months old has never had a non organic food in his body or any chemicals on the outside! Thank you Whole Foods!

Nivi says …

We buy almost everything possible available in organic and ofcourse it has to be at whole food the only place where I can find everything organic from fruits,veggies, ice cream, snacks, even choclates to cleaning products. My son has allergies and attention issues and providing organic food has helped him a lot. Also organic food has brought a lot of difference in overall health of my the whole family. We strayed shopping full fledged at whole food since 3 years and now replaced almost everything. Organic is the best no question. I love shopping at whole food Plymouth meeting.

Mandi says …

Health and food safety all the way! I used to think organic foods was just a trendy hoax with a pretentious tax. I have done my research and know better; although the trendiness with the pretentious tax often applies I am afraid. No GMOs, hazardous pesticides, growth hormones, and puss in my milk for my family! Thanks WF for giving us choices.

Barbara Rush says …

HONK, HONK, HONK. Love Whole Foods and buy all my groceries there. The people at the local store are so friendly, they're like family.

rich s says …

ii prefer the flavor of organic produce, i am fairly certain i already get my daily dose of pesticides form my neighbor's perfect lawns.