Would you rather eat organic herbs or wildcrafted herbs which are grown in their most natural state (in the wild)? What is the difference anyway? Organic food and farming as defined by the USDA are to as to
"integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity."
Sounds good enough. So, as I started hanging out at a local gardening and science teaching center in my community, I was learning quite a bit about what's considered "organic fertilizer" and a whole lot more. Which brings me to this topic of wildcrafted herbs and foods versus certified organic.
Wildcrafted herbs and foods by definition:
"Wildcrafting (also known as foraging) is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or 'wild' habitat, primarily for food or medicinal purposes. Ethical considerations are often involved, such as protecting endangered species potential for depletion of commonly held resources and in the context of private property, preventing theft of valuable plants, for example, ginseng-..." (Wikipedia)
As you see wildcrafted foods and herbs are grown in the wild and in their natural state without aid or help from humans or machines. They grow out in the wild free and natural. That means basically dirt and rainwater. The benefit is that they are sturdier plants. They are not coddled and watered every day. They have to utilize everything around them, and it makes them resilient and strong. Their roots have to go much deeper to find water and the strains that come from these plants are many times much more superior giving lush and beautiful leaves and providing more nutrients.
Organic foods require "natural fertilizers," and that can be anything derived from "natural" sources. The problem with that is that even "natural" fertilizers used in high quantities (as in organic foods) can be toxic in high amounts. Natural can still be toxic. Think of sarin gas. It's a natural organophosphorus compound but is lethal.
I was speaking to a biologist who runs a local community garden and learning center, and he said he would much rather grow his own vegetables than buy organic too which I wondered why. Since he is a scientist and biologist and knows a lot about organic gardening practices and the difference between wildcrafted and certified organic, I asked him why? Here is what he explained.
Certified Organic growing practices can use higher amounts of herbicides and that can be harmful. In fact, he said it could be more harmful than conventional. I again asked in disbelief, how so? He said because in organic farming they have to use higher amounts of the "natural pesticides" to get the job done and in conventional, they use very little. So once you pass a threshold, it (fertilizers) becomes toxic. When it comes to our central nervous system less is best. Also, with organic foods, the nutrient content is never tested. They grow for yields, not for nutrients. BIG SURPRISE!
So, less of something strong can be better than more of something weak because at a certain point it passes the threshold of what's best for our bodies. That is why I prefer local if possible. It's nice to be able to meet the person growing your food. It's nice to know what they use and how they grow. Farmers markets are an excellent way to get to know who is local and who is not. I love buying my honey locally because even certified organic may be feeding the bees sugar water. I know what my beekeeper feeds her bees and it's flowers. She also doesn't use cruel methods to extract the honey. I know her and I have seen her in action.
When I make skincare, I have the option of buying wildcrafted pesticide free shea butter that hasn't been processed and is wholly organic and raw, or I can purchase certified organic that's been cooked down and processed. I choose wildcrafted organic over the certified organic because processing kills nutrients and I don't want a refined product. You'd think that the certified organic would be better but not so in all cases.
I chose to use natural and wildcrafted as well as certified organic ingredients in our line. In some cases a natural and wildcrafted label is superior to certified organic labeling. I will always choose nutrient-dense over weak labeling. I spent a reasonable amount of time getting to know my farmers and suppliers.
Buying freshly made skincare is better than buying from a big box shop whose main goal is profits. Small business has to make profits also, but the passion and craft supersede the greed that large corporations often become. Organics have become big marketing buzz words that people make assumptions about. I hope I explained clearly some differences that you can understand.
I like knowing who makes my food and body care products. That's why I support local as much as possible. I hope you will too. Together we can make the world a much more beautiful and harmonious place. Plus, its so much fun visiting farmers markets and local makers. We passion our philosophies, and we know artisan and natural are essential to our customers. We will always provide the highest quality available. So, when you ask me if we are certified organic company and I say "not at this time," it's not because I don't believe in organics, we use a majority of organic ingredients in our line. However, it's simply because I have learned about the industry. I want the best both for your family and mine as well. I hope you will consider buying from local makers because once they are gone, you will not have the same options as today.
My husband and I experienced this before the mega market health food chains took over the market almost entirely. I can't find the types of natural teas I once loved by the mom and pop shops. The knowledge is gone. I do miss those small companies that took the time to sess out what is healthy and off the beaten track of what the general public knows about. I have to work a little harder for the source, but I am glad that I still can find what I need- its just not in a big chain.
If you are still buying your natural living from big stores, consider visiting artisan brand pop up shops and farmers markets because the artisan makers that are passionate about health make the best products without fillers and harmful cheap chemicals that make their way into even the larger chain health food stores.