Organic vs. local. What do you choose? Personally, I don’t think it matters much, especially because around here its pretty easy to get food that is both organic and local. But I chose to go for organic over local. Why? Well for one, I want to encourage as many people to adopt organic processes as possible, to preserve diversity, to keep toxins out of our soil, air and water, etc. My other reasons are somewhat more selfish. I just don’t want to be eating that crap. Known and suspected carcinogens (that means they cause cancer), toxins, poisons, growth hormones, yuck! These chemicals are blamed not only for massive amounts of environmental damage, but also for increased cancer rates, lowered fertility rates, increased risk of birth defects and miscarriage, increased weight gain, increased allergies, decreased immunity, the list goes on and on. Its truly frightening. I don’t want to be eating that crap, if I can avoid it, and I don’t want my son eating that crap. I want grandchildren one day.
Plus, I know its awful, but I’m not giving up avocados until peak oil makes me. I do try to avoid buying food, especially produce, that comes from outside the continental US. Especially if its a food that’s in season here. I remember last fall, before I had my son, going shopping for apples at the grocery store and being appalled at how many apples there were from South America. Why? Apples were in season. Its not like they weren’t growing in the US at the time. Anyway, buying local is about more than just the carbon footprint of the food we eat. The further away food comes from, the greener it is when it is picked so that it gets ripe while it ships. Fruit picked when its green just doesn’t taste as good, and there are less nutrients in it. With the cost of food going up like it is, you might as well be focused on getting your money’s worth in taste and nutrition.
To ensure that I’m eating responsibly and healthily, I need to stop eating out so much too. You really just don’t know what you’re getting when you eat out. I don’t know if I mentioned eating out in my original responsible eating goals, but I’m mentioning it now because I’ve come to realize what a big deal it is. It also costs a fortune. Eating out should be reserved for special occasions, especially if you are a single mom.
Finally, packaging. This should be a big duh. It takes energy to make all that packaging, and energy to ship it off to the dump, where it will sit for hundreds of thousands of years. Not to mention, remember all that crap that I said is in conventionally grown food that causes cancer and weight gain and lowered sperm counts? Yeah, its in most of that packaging too, and it leaches out into your food.
Now, I’ve got to admit, I don’t buy everything organic. I don’t buy everything local. I can’t always afford organic, and I like fresh produce so local fresh produce in the winter is really hard to come by. But I make an extra effort. During the summer, it shouldn’t be much of a problem at all. If you are looking to make some of these efforts yourself, I highly recommend looking into local farmers markets and CSAs. Check out Local Harvest for a complete directory in your area.