Is Organic Good Enough?

This interesting Time feature discusses Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs that offer "phenomenally fresh" fruits and vegetables at very affordable prices. Very smartly, it also addresses concerns about the quality of the organic foods grown by farmers, particularly those who avoid harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers but can't afford to pay for the organic certification process required by the government.

Not all the foods provided by CSAs and other local farms are organic, as some farmers may still rely on some chemical sprays or pastured hens that may eat conventionally grown grains. Nevertheless, the author of this Time piece, John Cloud, was able to meet the family that farms the whole foods he eats and became satisfied with its safety.

Mr. Cloud decided, in the end, that he preferred local food to nonlocal food labeled organic, even if the local farmers had to make some practical concessions.



Dr. Mercola's Comments:

For their good health, the public is slowly beginning to have a deeper appreciation of the value of foods grown locally, rather than buying "industrial organic" foods that are most likely a ripoff at their corner commercial grocery store.

Food that is truly organic -- that is to say, free of pesticides, genetic modifications, and other harmful agricultural methods -- is of course generally better for your health than food laden with hazardous chemicals. But that doesn''t mean that an "organic" doughnut is better for you than a fresh, conventional carrot. And there are other considerations that may be as or more important than whether or not the food is organic.

Guidelines to Choose Your Food

  • Is the food local? 
  • Is it ethical? 
  • Is it sustainable?
  • Is it humane?

More and more people are asking themselves these questions, leading to the explosive growth of the CSA movement.

This movement is growing so fast, even Google, one of my favorite companies in the world, has opened a cafeteria, Cafe 150, whose goal is to only use foods and ingredients grown within 150 miles.

If you''ve been looking for locally grown foods and haven''t found them, review the offerings at a variety of organizations, including Local Harvest.

Later this year I hope to offer a radical new product that will allow you to create a harvest of fresh organically grown vegetables in only a few  square feet. You can grow it outside if conditions permit, or in your home in the winter. It involves a hydroponic growing system that was developed by engineers for NASA and Walt Disney World.

Wouldn''t it be nice to go into a room in your home and pick absolutely fresh vegetables with minimal work or hassle? You can''t beat the freshness because most organic vegetables you purchase are one to two weeks old by the time they make it to your table and by that time much of the value of the food has diminished.

It is one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved in. As this Time magazine article points out, sustainability in farming is becoming a key issue.

On Vital Votes, Tina from Toronto, Ontario in <st1:country-region>Canada</st1:country-region> says:

"People are constantly deceived by the word ''organic'', which can be very dangerous for those who don''t know about the principles of healthy diet: eating whole foods and not just replacing conventional mac & cheese with an organic version.

"We have to also consider that organic is an industry like any other, where companies will use the words of the trade to promote their products. Some of us fear that the organic standards may drop to make organic a reality more ''accessible'' to others. We need another word to use to name food that conscious people would actually want to eat.

"If I want the convenience of organic prewashed lettuce I''d like to make sure it wasn''t dipped in a chlorine bath, but there''s nothing telling me so unless I research each company -- and if I take the time to do that, I may as well just wash my own lettuce! That said, I don''t buy prewashed lettuce. Too bad things like this aren''t what uphold this organic integrity.

"I believe that [just as] how large-scale industries have abused the word organic and people fall into the trap, this may happen with ''local'', where people will not uphold the standards known by people nowadays who outsource organic local produce, but simply use the word ''local'' as a way to advertise.

"If we know farmers, chances are they live within 150 miles radius of us. Just because it''s grown near us doesn''t mean it''s good for you, either. Now more than ever is actually knowing who makes your food so important."

Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.



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