Monday, August 15, 2016

Eating Omily: The Lexicon of Sustainability on Organic vs. Local

When you hear talk of sustainable food, or food that's healthier for the planet, what one word springs to mind? Organic? Probably! This can be a deal-breaker for some people. Organic food can feel like a racket: lots of less-than-totally-sustainable things are legally permitted in certified organic foods. Animal husbandry practices are the most egregious offenders. And, of course, there you stand in the grocery store. Organic tomatoes...or conventional ones. There are the price tags. You only have so much money. Who can afford to throw it away when there's a cheaper option RIGHT THERE??

Then there are the organic warriors: organic breakfast cereal, organic bottled water (it's probably a thing), organic fruit snacks, organic pajama pants (they have them at Wal-Mart!). Don't get me wrong: this approach is certainly doing some good for our world, but sustainability is more complicated than a piece of paper.

And this is the topic of the second Lexicon of Sustainability video: "Local vs. Organic". Again, it's only three minutes and sixteen seconds. Take a timeout and watch it!

Believe it or not, a lot of farmers are just like you, organic-avoiders! They aren't keen to pay extra for that certification sticker, and don't have access to the systems and resources that would make doing so make sense for them. So, they don't. And you don't have to either!

And, Organic Warrior? From the bottom of my heart, thank you for what you do!! When you step into a Farmers' Market though, try rephrasing your question! Instead of, "Is this organic?" Try, "do you spray your blueberries? How often, with what, and what for?" Or, "How do you handle pests and weeds on your farm?" Or, "What do your chickens eat?" You'll get a lot more information, and easily find some wonderful foods that meet your standards without the extra cost of maintaining certification thrown in!

Of course, when you're in your grocery store, you don't have the luxury of gaining this info. Which is one reason why Farmers markets are such a better choice when they're available! In which case, buying organic DOES guarantee a base level of earth, and health-protecting practices. Take some time to understand exactly what 'organic' does and doesn't mean, though. And keep in mind that "Certified organic" is not the same as "contains organic ingredients", or "made with organic (one ingredient in a product". And remember, "All Natural" does not have a legal definition. Anyone can slap that on anything. Don't pay extra for it, and don't assume it means anything at all. Read ingredient labels and nutrition information whenever you buy a prepared product, unless doing so triggers disordered thoughts or behaviors for you.

Got questions after watching the video? Let me know in the comments!

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