To Buy Organic, Or To Not Buy Organic? That Is The Question.

Posted in Organic Living on November 12th, 2009 by Jessica | 42 comments
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On the list of things that I plan to accomplish for living more green I mentioned eating more organic foods as well as more local foods. That may sound wonderful in theory however, there are a few stumbling stones that can stop most people myself included. The initial one being the cost. Since most organic foods are grown without the aid of pesticides or any other junk that shouldn’t be in our food it is more costly to produce. I know that you have to pay for quality but when you are living on a budget every penny counts even when considering your health and the health of our planet. So I did find a couple of articles that give you the heads up on where you should spend the money and where buying organic isn’t as necessary from a chemically altered standpoint.

Essentially the Dirty Dozen ,as it’s called in the media, are all of the products that when available you should always buy organic because the non-organic versions are full of growth hormones, pesticides, and other nasty chemicals that we can certainly do without. You can read more about it The Daily Green or at TLC. However I’m going to give you a list of the top 12 you should by organic the sites will going into detail as to why.

These 12 items you should always buy organic if you can:

  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Coffee (I had no idea that coffee could be full of pesticides)
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Most leafy greens like lettuce
  • Grapes
  • Carrots ( Europe is well on the way to banning use of pesticides on carrots)
  • Pears
  • Potatoes (these have recently falling off the list but just recently)

So that is more than twelve but better to be safe than eating chemicals.

Here is the list of items that we could probably skip the organic label on:

  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Sweet Potato

Essentially the hardier the plant the less pesticides that need to be used and the less chance for the chemicals to be absorbed by the food. A good frame of reference would be if it has a skin that is not typically eaten then it’s probably ok to not buy organic. However that is just a rough frame of reference and my opinion.

So What Can I Do?

  • Make friends with a local butcher and ask him about the farms that he buys from and if they are organic certified farms or if the animals are free range and grass fed. You can also try to find a local farmer uses organic methods and find out if he sells his livestock for public use and where he gets his meat processed. I actually just got ΒΌ of a cow from a friend who’s father-in-law owns an organic farm. He was selling the meat for 95 cents a pound!

  • Grow your own vegetables especially the ones that are at high risk from contamination. This way you don’t have to buy the produce and you know exactly what it has been exposed while it was growing. If that isn’t an option seek out co-ops or community farms that practice organic growing methods.

  • Be aware of what you are buying. I’m constantly amazed at the amount of unnecessary extras that are found in the food that we buy and eat. If I just took more time realizing what I’m putting into my family’s mouths I probably would make better choices.

  • Here are a few sites that can help you find local farmers that sell meat and produce in your area. Local Harvest allows you to search by zip code and by what you are looking for ie farmers market or grocery. The Eat Well site also includes restaurants and Canada.

  • So this is my goal for the next year. A preemptive New Year’s resolution if you will. I will be more aware of what goes into our mouths. I’m sure my husband would say I should include being aware of what comes out of it but one small step at a time :) .

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