Organic Schmorganic … and that means I like it.

6 12 2008

My husband just sent me an NYT article on a guy who goes completely organic for three years. He said I should post it here because I haven’t posted anything in FOREVER, which is very true and sad.  But life is so busy!  And we’ve been busy with it.  Blogging should be simple and easy, shouldn’t require much time, but come on … expect a perfectionist to comply with that?  Well, I’ll try.

So the article reminded me of a conversation I had with my parents on why our household is, for the most part, an organic one.  It was actually a conversation that took place over a long evening, here and there, as I thought of more and more reasons.  So, let me see if I can recall them all:

  • The obvious:  Eating organic means that you’re not eating as many extra chemicals, and that is probably a good thing … 
  • The nutritional:  Most studies on the subject determine that fruits and vegetables grown organically have more vitamins and minerals in them than ones that are grown conventionally (BTW, I use this term because everyone else does, but frankly … conventionally?  Seems like convention for the thousand of years or so that man has been growing things would be without herbicides and pesticides … )  And–a factoid from The Omnivore’s Dilemma–did you know that beef should technically have great Omega-3 fatty acids just like all that fish they keep telling us to eat?  Unfortunately most beef, except for pasture-raised, doesn’t have that good stuff because most cows eat a mono-species diet of corn instead of what they’re supposed to be eating:  grass.  (Just like fish eat kelp and stuff … Makes sense, right?)  
  • The gourmet standpoint:  It tastes better.  Period.  Maybe you can’t tell the difference with just any old item, but I don’t know a single person who couldn’t identify for me the difference between a local organic tomato, picked red, ripe, and robust from the vine, and a grocery store special.  Give the food the chance to do its thaaaang, yo.
  • The labor standpoint:  OK, so maybe you’re not concerned about the small amounts of otherwise lethal chem-combos you’ll be ingesting, but what about the people–and their children–who are applying these chemicals to the veggies and fruits?  Or worse, the people who work at the factories that make the stuff?  They’re ingesting it all by the bucketful.  And not because they have a choice but because that’s the only way they know how to put food on their own table.  
  • The environmental standpoint:  Applying pesticides to the food we eat or to the food that our meat eats …  whichever it is, it contributes to pollution.  And we eat, and drink, pollution, whether we want to or not.  It’s in the air we breathe and water we drink, with or without filters.  My old environmental health professor, whose salary was heavily funded by major Louisiana polluting industries used to say, “Dilution is the solution to pollution,” but then he’d wryly smile and mention that his own water came from a private well at his isolated farm.
  • The scenic standpoint:  So, you don’t care about your own health?  Fine, but the farmers who grow and raise your food definitely care about theirs.  And no U.S. farmer with half a brain is going to expose himself and his family to noxious chemicals all day.  So, unless you’re interested in having all of Virginia’s beautiful farmland turned into McMansion communities, it might be worth supporting local farming families, most of whom are turning organic.  

So, it would seem that organic is the way to go, right?  But wait, let’s be fair:  What are the reasons to buy food that’s not organic?  Um, let’s see …  Hm, the only thing I can come up with is that it’s cheaper.  Right now.  In the short run.  For the consumer (but not for the labor force that helped to bring it to your table or to the environment that helped to create it).  Look.  I’m not for people starving because they can’t get enough food, but the fact is (a) the more people who buy organic, the more industry will turn in that direction, and the cheaper organic food will get and (b) most of us could probably stand to eat a bit less (or at least just more of the right food).




One response

2 08 2009
Why Eat Organic? « Drink of Water

[…] many benefits a real expert could come up with, but I’ve got six categories of benefits in my previous post, “Organic-Schmorganic,” so there ya go.  Read it.  Eat […]

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