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Organics: Better or Bust?

organicveggies_wide-c4a802b9e8bbf6f5cee58c45e3983864ceba6d5c-s1600-c85I argue for buying organically.  Personally, it tastes better.  And I get jazzed thinking of the naturally-occuring growth cycle of compost as fertilizer and mulch to ward off weeds.  (I blogged on the Dirty Dozen a while back, listing those fruits and vegetables with thin skins that should always be organic so you don’t ingest pesticides – do you really want to eat that poison?) The argument that is forked back to me is, “There’s no difference in nutrition or taste in conventional vs. organic and organic foods cost more.”

I beg to differ – you knew that, didn’t you?  Hands down, the best tasting tomato and arugula this year came from my CSA (www.sienafarms.com)  and peaches from local, organic farmers sold at Whole Foods.  I’ve done research on nutritional quality comparisons and find the debate still raging.  Overall, I found more support for better nutrition in some organic selections.  The cost can be higher for organic fruits and vegetables yet I found that purchasing a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), meaning I shelled out a lot of dough in spring, cost me $37.50 a week for fresh vegetables (for 20-24 weeks), way less than I would have spent on organic food from a grocer.

So I add another element to the debate:  GMO!  Defined as Genetically Modified Organism, GMO foods have been genetically altered and DNA from one source (like fish) is added to another organism (like a tomato) to change it’s genetic structure – usually for a given purpose (Wikipedia provides more detail if you’d like to read up on it).  GMO seeds (like corn and soybeans) are resistant to RoundUp, a powerful chemical pesticide.  So, the food grows in chemicals but the weeds die.  Environmental groups are concerned about antibotic resistance and new allergens emerging yet proponents feel it will increase the sale of GMO-salmon thereby reducing death from heart attacks (I need to see this rationale before commenting!).

Organic foods are not, by law, allowed to be GMO.

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal ethics. Many say they don’t know how to contribute to a safer world.  By contributing to yourself, through support of organic farmers, you are supporting the earth and potential reduction in U.S. health care costs.  Thereby supporting your family, community, and town.

It always comes down to choice.  We all have the right to choose and we can choose to treat our body with the respect it deserves – or not.  To promote healthy eating – or not.  To support the world we live in – or not.

My favorite Clean House host, Niecy Nash, says of the messiest homes in America, “There’s a whole lot of nonsense and foolishness going on in here.”  My sentiments exactly when it comes to the way our food is produced.  The choice we can make with our food selection, and I’m using Niecy’s language, is to “Take off your blindfolds and open your eyes,” – or not.

 

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