Friday, September 7, 2012

Why Organic?

This is something that I get asked a lot. Why buy organic? Why go through the extra steps and extra money to purchase and prepare organic food? I can tell you honestly that, if I didn't care about organic or making home cooked real food meals, then I could save myself a lot of time and money. Time that could be spent with my daughter and money that could be spent on...I don't know...maybe taking a freaking vacation every once in a while! The thing is though, I take the time, effort, and money to, not only purchase high quality/organic foods, but to cook them. When I say cook, I mean it. I very rarely open cans or packages. I do. Just not very often. This isn't something that I did overnight, but slowly, especially since my daughter has started on solids, I have really made a commitment to making sure she gets the best nutrition I can possibly give her.

What is organic?
Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used. (The USDA website)

Nutritionally there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that organic is better. However, pesticides used on conventional produce end up in our bodies when we eat it. The government allows "safe levels" of these pesticides to be used. I don't buy it. I just don't think that "safe levels" of poisons should be allowed in our food supply. These chemicals can also build up in the body over time and cause health issues as well be passed from a pregnant mother to her fetus. ( According to the National Academy of Science even low level exposure to pesticides may result in behavioral and neurological problems. (

So basically, I don't want my kid to eat pesticides. That is pretty obvious. However, the amount of pesticides on a piece of produce by the time it reaches the grocery store is pretty small compared to the amount that is on it in the field. Which brings me to my next point. Organic is better for the planet! You know that thing we all live on? Mitt Romney joked about President Obama's remarks from 2008 about "healing the planet" but if we don't have a planet then nothing really matters anyway. Agriculture is a huge polluter! So after watering all those strawberry fields the chemicals run off into our water supply. Lovely. ( Also, someone has to pick those strawberries. I wonder how many chemicals those folk are being exposed to? Of course, not many people think about this because most people who harvest produce are immigrants. Organic is better for the planet and better for farm workers!

Organic is also better for farmers! Most conventional products produced by big huge food corporations do one thing: line the pockets of shareholders while farm workers and consumers pay the price in health costs and damage to the planet. Take my advice (hey - that is why you are reading this thing anyways!) head to your local farmer's market! Buy locally produced organic produce from real farmers in your area! Farmer's market is one of my go to's for fresh, local, cheap, organic stuff! Help these people out! Give em' some sugar, they are your neighbors! And yes, that was an Outkast reference. Shake it like a Polaroid picture!

So there is my two cents, whether you asked for it or not. Now, just so you don't get confused. I don't buy everything 100% organic 100% of the time. I purchase non-organic brands that I trust to be high quality. However, when it comes to the majority of produce, I do buy organic. I choose organic whenever I can whether I am at the farmer's market or at Safeway. I don't just do it for myself or my daughter either, it is because I believe in providing the best future possible for everyone. That is all. Whoa, soapbox moment!

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