Happy Monday and day after Earth Day, 2018.
I’d like to make a special shout out to all the new people and/or robots who have begun to follow this blog and to acknowledge those who have been following from the get go. Thank you for joining and welcome aboard!
In other news, today I wanted to share some information presented this weekend on The Food Chain Radio Program about grocery shopping and organics. Ultimately, the show provided a list of fruits and veggies that are more and less important to buy organic. Meaning, there are some fruits and veggies we can save money on by buying the non-organic option without worrying too much about ingesting chemicals. Phew and woo hoo!
Here are the lists, courtesy of The Environmental Working Group:
The Dirty Dozen (bakers dozen, that is)
–Produce containing high levels of pesticide residues, even after being rinsed and peeled. Good idea to buy the organic versions of these fruits and veggies.
Notice most of these items have thin skins, aka more permeable to pesticides. And note that the pesticides found on non-organic versions of these are linked to brain damage and cancer, are outlawed in many European countries, and yet are approved by the US Government*. Wonderful.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Hot peppers
–Produce containing minimal levels of pesticide residues when grown conventionally. Aka, we can buy these products non-organic without worrying too much.
Notice most of these have thick skins or shells which protect the part you eat from contact with the pesticides.
- Sweet Corn**
- Sweet Peas
**Sweet corn, papayas, and summer squash are often genetically modified crops, so if you want to avoid being part of the “greatest global experiment known to mankind” (quote from acupuncturist Jenny Johnston of Santa Cruz), best to go organic with these crops. Note I did acupuncture as a groupon deal just to try it out. It was ok.
All in all, I was very relieved to come across these lists, espeicially the Clean 15, since I’ve been busting my own balls paying pretty much double for organic avocadoes, broccoli, onions, etc. over the years. Recently canned from my latest job, I’m now watching my spending a bit more. Que conundrum:
In general, I like to buy only organic products on principle, to “vote with my dollar” as they say, to support farmers who have gone out of their way to certify themselves and adopt safer and more sustainable growing practices. Yes, its more expensive, but I figure I’d rather feed myself good food and maintain my health than spend money on anything else.
Anyway, I cant help but wonder: if we all buy non-organic, Clean 15 produce, how will this impact the agricultural market?
Conventional farmers will continue as is, while farmers who grow organic produce will be out of luck, unable to compete with the low prices of non-organic produce.
By selecting non-organic options, we as consumers are telling farmers that we value cheap food and that it is ok to use harmful chemicals on our food. Thats what “voting with your dollar” means to me, by the way. When you buy something, you are supporting someone and encouraging them to keep on keepin’ on.
It is important to note that produce on the Clean 15 list still did test positive for pesticide residues, just not at the high levels of the Dirty Dozen. Pesticides do have environmental and health impacts which someone is going to pay for down the line, either through medical bills or contaminated water or another Dust Bowl, something like that.
By buying organic, we are telling farmers that we value organic farming and the extra efforts they are taking to build a sustainble food system. Buying organic today, even though it is more expensive, will encourage all farmers to adopt safer and more sustainable growing practices and prices will eventually even out. I’m no economist, but I’m pretty sure thats how supply and demand works.
I’ve seen it happen with organic strawberries in Santa Cruz. I was surprised and a bit delighted last year to see the organic and non-organic strawberries pretty much the same price.
All that being said, we can only do what we can do. I’m probably going to start going non-organic for the Clean 15, but definitely going to opt for organics when it comes to the dirty dozen. Our health is all we’ve got, some say.
I hope this post helps you make up your mind as well.
Thank you for reading and wishing you all the best this week and beyond,