Whenever people meet me, one of the first things they probably think is, “Why is this ‘typical’ oil and gas guy talking so much about organics?” 

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Whenever people meet me, one of the first things they probably think is, “Why is this ‘typical’ oil and gas guy talking so much about organics?”

I get some weird looks.

But as a kid, growing up in a farming and ranching community in Whiteface, Texas, we didn’t worry about whether our food was organic or not because we didn’t have to. We didn’t have pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to worry about back then.

Fast-forward to today and why I think we need more organics in our lives.

Organic produce is free from chemical pesticides and fertilizers. That might mean nothing to you, but it actually matters very much to your body. These things can affect the nervous system and possibly cause disease.

Organics also are non-GMO, meaning the produce has not been genetically altered. Modifying genetics alters, or sometimes eliminates, the nutritional value in the produce.

Even most conventional produce has been irradiated to reduce harmful bacteria, prevent spoilage and increase shelf life.

But irradiation also kills the nutritional value of food, and some research indicates that might be less safe to consume.

I’ve learned that organic produce retains more nutrients, vitamins and minerals that our body needs to stay healthy.

An increasing local and regional market for organics encourages the expansion of organic farming has given producers around the world opportunities to compete.

When pesticides and chemical growth accelerators are eliminated from the process, the privately owned farmer has a better position in which to compete with corporate-owned farms.

The little guys have a chance.

Ultimately, it all boils down to education. Teaching communities about nutrition is one of the most important services people can provide for each other.

Organics are great, but I want you to know the benefits of them, too. When all restaurant and market owners have the information they need to have an educated conversation with their employees and customers, everyone benefits.

But there’s more: Raw organic produce should not be so expensive and only available to those who can afford it.

As a health and farming advocate, my objective is to expand the consumption of organic produce in Oklahoma City.

As the market for organic product grows, buying power for both businesses and those who consume organics increases.

Every time we as a community make a purchase, we are telling farmers and sellers what we as consumers want.

If we can leverage that buying power, we have an opportunity to make raw organic produce available at a dramatically reduced cost. That success is what I’m looking forward to writing more about.

So, the answers to the questions are simple.

“Why is this ‘typical’ oil and gas guy talking so much about organics?” I’m always talking about organics because I don’t think we should consume things that aren’t meant for human consumption.

Wiley Rhodes promotes development of organic, non-GMO food and serves as founder and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Organic Squeeze.

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

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