Buying Local Should Include Buying Organic
August 28, 2008
A few years ago, most customers at farmers’ markets would ask how vegetables and herbs were grown. Customers were concerned about organic growing habits and pesticide use on farms, and inquired about the methods used to grow the produce they were purchasing.
Today, the question is asked more rarely. Consumer priorities and the main farm-production question that growers hear is related to place: "Where is your farm?"
Customers used to worry about how food was produced; now they worry about where it is from. The power of one captivating idea -- local -- has quickly eclipsed the power of another -- organic.
But the organic movement confronted industrial agriculture's use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that devastated local ecosystems. It addressed the health of migrant farm workers and the health of people who ate foods with pesticide residues or milk with growth hormones.
The local-oriented movement may be avoiding engagement with many of the problems associated with the industrial food system that organic as a movement specifically sought to address.