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Organic Consumers Association

Organic Valley Launches First Online Calculator to Measure Personal Impact of Food Choices

  • Organic Counts!
    Interactive Calculator Quantifies Toxins Avoided With Each Product Selection
    Organic Valley, Sept 23, 2009
    Straight to the Source

Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, today launched the first online calculator that shows consumers the toxic burden prevented by their choices of organic vs. non-organic and "natural" foods. The calculator is available at www.organicvalley.coop.

Much like an online shopping experience, the Organic Valley calculator invites visitors to put their favorite Organic Valley dairy products into a simulated shopping basket to weigh the positive impact of their organic food choices. As each food product is placed in the basket, the calculator automatically adds up and displays the amounts of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers avoided by that product, as opposed to a comparable conventional product. The numbers are derived from a calculation of USDA conventional agriculture data compared with twenty years of parallel data from Organic Valley member-farms.

"Organic Counts!," the online calculator, shows that Organic Valley farmers and consumers collectively kept 89.5 million pounds of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and 1.25 million pounds of synthetic pesticides and herbicides from America's soil and water from 1988 to 2008.  To  reduce that down to a personal level, a shopper who purchased two blocks of Organic Valley cheese, two containers of cream and a gallon of milk, for example, would prevent an entire pound of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer from being applied to soil and leaching into our drinking water.

"We did this to show our customers that they really do make a difference when they buy products from our farmer-owned co-op, and they should feel good about it," said George Siemon, chief executive officer and founding farmer at Organic Valley. "The numbers add up quickly, and every bite counts. These metrics are real, just as the threat to our health and environment is real. That's why we have always been, and will always be organic."

"Pesticides are poison and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer damages soil and water. We've been talking about this for years; now you can see it yourself," said Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive at Organic Valley. "Add it up. The data presented in our calculator quantifies-from the perspective of an individual's grocery list-how going organic prevents a toxic burden on ourselves and our planet. And that's just from dairy products! Imagine the positive impact of choosing ALL organic foods. It's not a time to doubt or water-down organic. It's a time to look at the numbers and facts and take action. Organic is the future for all of us." 


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