This post is part of a two part series. Keep an eye out for the second part, which will be posted January 3rd at 12:00.
A while back I got really interested in food, so I read (or actually listening to the books on tape while driving) The Omnivore’s Dilemma, InDefense of Food, Food Rules, and Mindless Eating. Part of what I was amazed with was the fact that the “organic” and “free-range” meat I had been buying at my local grocery store isn’t much different than the “industrial” meat sitting next to it and costing half as much.
Industrial organic versus organic was definitely the part of The Omnivore’s Dilemma that hit close to home for me. I had been buying organic meat and produce for over a year and I thought I was doing the best thing for my body and planet. I was far from it!
Industrial organic is the stuff you find in your grocery store. Yes, it’s grown without the big pesticides and fertilizers (and actually they’re allowed to use some that are “natural”, but still have detrimental effects), but industrial organic is still bad for the environment! Over-aeration, shipping in compost, and shipping products across the country and often across the world is just as bad for the environment as conventionally-grown industrial food.
Also, organic does not automatically mean healthy. I know how ridiculously simple that sounds, but my mind automatically made that association without thinking. No, those organic crackers with 32 ingredients aren’t better for me than the non-organic with only 5 ingredients. Did you know that “USDA Certified Organic” products can still have 5% non-organic products in them?* And if it says “made with organic ingredients”, that’s up to 30% non-organic. That means dyes, preservatives, and all the stuff that I’m not okay with being in my food.
So what’s the solution? For me, it’s moving out of the grocery store. I went to farmers markets this summer and tried to freeze and can as much as I could so I can have produce during the months when produce doesn’t grow around here (which is a lot of months of the year because I’m in Utah). I’ve also been using Bountiful Baskets to get produce that’s as local as possible (mostly Southern Arizona) this winter. I’m trying to not be so reliant on processed foods. Last, but not least, I’m getting My Very Own Farmer.
*If it says “100% organic”, then it is, indeed, 100% organic.