Whee. I'm on a roll.
I started Food Friday by outing myself as a vegetarian (in case you hadn't already noticed).
On the 'we're not really crunch tree hugging hippies, but we sure act like it' front, Tom and I also have been trying to eat organic
It started out as another of the side effects of ybunny
, the fiance, reading Fast Food Nation
as well as his chemistry background.
Personally, I wasn't convinced. When I took Organic Chemistry back as an undergrad, they told us that organic meant anything with carbon as part of the makeup. So, I reasoned, all food is organic. Really...how many ready to eat foods (home made or store bought) are sans carbon? None that I can think of.
So, I called shenanigans. But, ybunny
has this amazing ability to non-argue, wherein he convinces me of things by not bugging me about them. So, I read up on the organic thing.
I found an article entitled 10 Foods to Buy Organic
. I figured that I'd give it a try and buy those things organic, even if I wasn't completely on board.
To be honest, I was surprised. The organic food tasted really great. There was no more of the this-looks-good-but-tastes-like-paper scenario. So, a few months ago we decided to buy as many things organic as we could. Surprisingly enough, as I've done price comparisons, the total for an organic shop is only 6-9% more expensive than regular.
I'll give you a few reasons for considering a switch:
1. Taste. As I mentioned above, I find that there is a better taste with organic produce.
2. Farming methods. So far, I haven't seen any products marked 'organic' that weren't marked as cooperating with the Soil Conservation Project. (I can't find a link for this at the moment...) This regulates the fertilization of crops and the footprint of farms on the surrounding ecosystems. The criteria for certification as an organic farm can be found here
3. Fair Trade
. Many of the products that are Fair Trade are also organic and vice versa. A fair price for third world farmers. Good for you and good for them.
4. Less packaging. Not all sellers are good at this, but I have to applaud Sainsbury's and ASDA for packaging some of their organics in biodegradable packaging.
5. Local food. This isn't true in all cases, but at least with produce, organic often means local. Since organic food is free of the preservatives used to extend shelf life in regular produce, it isn't feasible to ship something for a week from parts unknown.
That leads me to the downsides as I'm trying to be fair:
1. Quicker spoilage. This is somewhat of a plus as it means there aren't as many additives, but it's not fun to buy a bunch of plums and find they're rotting after only two days. It's much more important to check dates on organics.
2. Price. There is a higher price on some things, especially produce and sweets.
3. Availability. Even if you can find what you want being sold close to you, it may be hard to get the amount you want (or any of it, if you get to the market late).
Some statistics on organic farming in the UK can be found in this article
A quote: By January 2005, 686,100 ha of land was managed to organic standards. Organic food sales increased from just over £100 million in 1993/94 to £1.21 billion in 2004 (an 11% increase on 2003)
Here's some more reasons
for going organic from Organic Food.co.uk
Anyone else going organic? Resources? Tips?EDIT:
I should add, I'm not allowing my brain to fall out on this. I don't opt for organic food if it means having to get things out of season. Out of season fruit either requires lots of shipping or can be pretty tasteless, organic or not.