Thursday, February 20, 2014

Organic or Local?

A page I follow on Facebook put this question to her readers a couple weeks ago. I wish I could remember which page, all the pages I follow are pretty cool & I would share if I could.

Anyway the question was; if you could only have organic or local produce which would you choose? 

I was surprised by the answers I saw. I didn't follow the conversation all day, but at the point I read through the comments the majority were in favor of organic. There are so many issues on my mind when choosing foods for my family. I have a budget. Don't we all? There are 6 of us who eat all meals at home. I try to keep everyone's like and dislikes in mind when I plan meals. My partner has a medical condition that is closely tied to his diet, so that's always on the radar. There are brands that I refuse to support on moral grounds, and a few ingredients that I try to avoid. I read labels. All of that is on my mind when I shop, and we haven't even talked about nutrition yet. Let me just confess, organic is barely a blip on my radar.
Of course I want to avoid pesticides, herbicides and the assorted poisons that somehow became an acceptable part of our food system. But if the organic tomato I purchased in January was picked by an exploited laborer, and trucked thousands of miles to my table, for me that pretty much negates the wholesomeness of choosing organic. Buying local addresses my concerns better than buying organic. Local, seasonal produce tends to be much cheaper than imported, off-season, organic produce. I know the labor laws of my community, so I can reasonably assume that workers at local farms are treated fairly and humanely. When buying from small, family owned farms, I know that my money stays in my community. It isn't funneling into corporations with a history of violating human rights or destroying the environment. This is incredibly important to me. Buying local means eating seasonally, which I believe plays an important role in health. When I buy local I can ask questions about animal husbandry and land management. Buying local tends to mean supporting sustainable practices and the food security of my community.

And more often than not, local is organic- just not certified organic.

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