Regarding Organics

I just began reading raj Patel’s book, “Stuffed and Starved. WOW. By the second page I knew I was getting into something worthwhile; challenging, inspiring, and potentially life-changing. I’m still only at the beginning but it seems that combining this piece with “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “Deep Economy” provides a decent platform for thought and change when considering current culture as it pertains to food, economy, and responsibility.
Anyways. Today I want to share the first part of some thoughts regarding the ‘why’ of organic food. The past year has presented my family with some enlightening points of information and choice and led to some clarifying conversations. Given some of the comments and discussions which have continued in this blog as well, I figured it could be neat to share where we’re at and see if we could expand the conversation even more.
Eating organically seems to come down to three main points of motivation:

For Me.
You’re in the grocery store, on a limited budget, and you desire to make the best choices for the health of your family. When it comes down to it, certain items seem to be ‘worth’ the cost of going Certified Organic than others. You grab the organic strawberries (your kiddo eats the whole berry and they just can be peeled) and choose main-stream bananas and avocadoes. The checkout total is manageable and you know that you’ve made some good choices for the bodies within your home.
For Them
Meanwhile, your partner is also browsing the aisle. He spots the mainstream produce and replaces them with organic bananas from a certified farm in Ecuador. It turns out that, while they run about $0.40/lb more, they allow a startling difference in quality of life for the farming families growing them. While banana farms don’t take up a whole lot of space in our world, they do consume an astounding amount of chemicals. The families working within these fields (including nursing moms and kids) are often exposed to lethal amounts of these chemicals as they work towards our cheap yellow fruit. So then, in chosing this option it may not make a huge difference to your own children (unless they occasionally begin by gnawing on the peel, like my son!) but you’re positively impacting the lives and futures of others.
For Her (The earth):
Thinking of a salad and the direct contact of pesticides on leaves, you grab a beautiful bag or organic romaine from EarthBound farms. Hold up! Yes, good choice for your family. Yes, good choice for the workers. But…what about the massive packaging plant used to process this treat? And the crazy plastic it’s wrapped in? And the fossil-fueled jer it flew in last week to get here? Hmm…. In this instance, maybe skipping the salad until the season allows for local organics to offer might be the better choice. Maybe?
All the above are just little bits of processing as we dissect our plates and habits up here on the ranch. Like most of you, we’re on limited funds, desire health, enjoy food, and have (or hope to have) a family. It’s not always so simple as just “go organic” or just “go local”. There’s a greater community to consider and an intricate series of connections in place.

getting his hands dirty

2 Responses to “Regarding Organics”
  1. sadie says:

    Interesting paragraph about the banana’s! W/ all this info at our fingertips about what goes on in our world, it certainly puts a weight of responsibility on us.

  2. Ditto to Sadie’s comment. I didn’t know that about bananas. And it is overwhelming sometimes to carry all the responsibility that comes from learning about how my purchases affect so many lives. I go through seasons in which I need to refrain from learning more (in one of those seasons right now) until I can live up to what I already know and can learn more without being stressed.

    You probably know all of this, but here’s the post I wrote a while ago about buying organic:

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