Organic food: it's better for our planet, better for our health, and better for the farmers. Buying organic can seem like a big investment, but it is all about value. Something to keep in mind: Organic means that your produce is likely "kinder", but it does not mean "better" and does not guarantee quality.
Not all organic food is created equal.
Yes, that tomato may be free from pesticides, but who picked it? Where was it grown? How many hands touched it before you are eating it? What business does it support? Is it a packaged good that is truly healthy, or just made with kinder ingredients? Certified organic produce can still be grown on massive farms where workers are over-worked and under-paid. Produce may be shipped thousands of miles to get to your local grocery store, responsible for the emissions of unnecessary greenhouse gas (and compromising taste). Organic potato chips are still chips and likely not as healthy as eating local, organic potatoes. Organic produce at grocery stores often is over-packaged (I will never understand why organic bananas and avocados need to be sold in plastic when they have nature's packaging!).
I am so tired of hearing from people that organic isn't better. It is. I am generally outraged when media only takes into consideration the nutritional value of organic produce and food, because it involves SO much more than that for all of us.
My best suggestion to buy the best of organic? Buy certified organic produce directly from your local farmers at the Farmers' Market (and then shop local independent stores where you can buy local and organic produce first).
Also, beyond food, organic matters everywhere else too – from clothing to your wine, from your tea to your personal care, think about how we source everything, and who is making it, growing it, building it, and what we are doing with it in our daily lives. All of our choices matter. With every dollar we spend, we are voting for more of your purchase – whether it is food or fashion, so...let's spend our dollars with care – there are so many incredible people, and lovely companies to support.
Here are a few resources to convince you further to buy organic:
1 // Although every week should be Organic Week, it's an official celebration from September 16-24, 2017. Canada's National Organic Week is the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. Events include anything from pickling workshops to recipe sharing, organic farm tours, or organic food and drink tastings across the country. You can host one yourself, or get involved with what is offered – if every school, retailer, chef, organic grower or organic consumer gets involved, imagine what change we can make!
2// Source your local Farmers' Market – and go, year round. Spend your dollars directly with organic farmers, find incredible new veggies and fruits not even found in stores, and have fun. (Important to remember, not all farmers' markets are created equal either!)
3 // Confused about buying local or organic first? It's amazing to me that people argue organic vs. local when it comes to their food. Is organic only for those who don't want toxins in their bodies, and local is reserved only for environmentalists who weigh their food miles? It's actually best that we all strive to be eating local AND organic food, by choosing what's in season. Our grandparents ate "organically" and locally, and they cleaned without chemicals too. Wow, that makes sense! I always got along famously with my grandparents, so as they are amazed with the "progress" of our world, I am interested in some regression back to how they lived as kids. It's great that we have a lot to share and learn from each other. Find my list of reasons for local and organic here.
4 // Your grandparents, and even your parents, may have never purchased certified organic food, but they grew up eating more local and more organic, just because that was what was! Our food and our world is very different today. Here are 9 things you should know about GMOs before you fill your shopping cart with them.
5 // Explore the best in truly natural and organic groceries by shopping at your local independent healthy retailer or signing up for a local organic food delivery company, or buy organics from where regularly shop, and ask them to carry more. But always read your labels and trace your food back to where it came from in order to make good purchases that are not simply "healthwashed".
6// Organic matters. Period. It isn't just about you, it's about ALL of us. Please care. PLEASE. If you haven't yet seen this Tedx Talk on The Empathy of Food by Anna Lappe, please watch it, and then share it.
To a better food system for all ahead – and the good news is that it starts with us....right now.