Ethics and organics

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I’ve been thinking about this lately and the slogan in our area is, “buy fresh, buy local”. The problem is, local doesn’t mean organic. I am lucky enough to have an organic farm about half an hour away where I can pick my own strawberries for jam. They sell some other fruits and veggies as well and I’m going to need to buy from them more often. But, which is worse, the trucking of goods from around the world to the store, or pesticide and chemical laden foods? There doesn’t seem to be a good solution aside from growing your own. So, grow I shall. But my family likes some goods that aren’t easily grown. In that case I think I’ll buy organic. I’d prefer to create demand for organic produce than encourage chemical growing. But really, it’s personal choice – neither is perfect.

Shopping ethically is tricky and expensive. Trying to reduce your carbon footprint and trying to buy organic, healthier food don’t always go together. Growing all your produce isn’t always feasible and not everyone has an organic farm close by. Meat is even worse. I thought I was doing well buying “natural” and “organic” meats and poultry but I’m not sure that means it doesn’t come through those huge slaughterhouses. Anything I can do to avoid those, I’d like to.

Here’s the rub though – organic and humane meats and produce can cost twice as much or more than the “regular” stuff. So much for that budget I wanted to stick to. Growing my own becomes more important the healthier I want to be. It has to be possible though. It has to be possible to eat well on a budget.

I guess it’s all about relying on homemade food and growing whatever you can. They don’t make it easy, do they? Two income families are in a tough place with no extra time to cook. Poor families are in a tough place. Anyone on any kind of fixed or small income, really. It’s cheaper to buy unhealthy food than it is to buy the stuff that’s good for you. It’s insane.

I understand that I live in a very privileged place. I have the time and ability to have a backyard garden. I have the time and ability to join a gym and work on getting healthier. I have the ability to spend part of my grocery budget on organic and humane products. I have the luxury of sitting here and pondering the ethics of my groceries without having to worry about where my next meal is coming from. There are so many people in the world who don’t have any of that. I want to promote healthy alternatives wherever I can so that maybe, someday, it’ll be cost effective for thise who can’t now, to buy healthy foods affodably.

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2 Responses to Ethics and organics

  1. polianthus says:

    I think this is a great post, as it addresses the luxury of being able to choose, and the fact that people who are poor are not at fault if they buy large processed amounts of food, or else stick to monodiets. of carbs with less fresh fruits and veggies. It is expensive to buy fresh fruit and veg, especially in winter, it is expensive to buy organic, locally sourced foods, I recently paid 9 dollars 2lbs of organic flour, I was shocked, and had the exact same thoughts you have written up there. I love the fact that you are championing these products to make them more attractive for producers with the idea that long term they will be more affordable. Sustainable thinking, I applaud you!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. I just really am starting to feel strongly about all of this. The more I learn, the more immediate and important is seems to me to be. It’s our food. It’s where health begins. It seems like a form of discrimination to make the healthiest foods available only to those who have enough money. I am realizing lately how very lucky I am. I have known crackers and peanut butter days, but I’ve never wondered if I’ll have food for my family. I’m trying to figure out how to help people who don’t have access to what I do. It seems like so little to do, to choose organics in the hope that it’ll make them more popular and eventually less expensive, but it’s what I can do right now. Maybe someday I’ll be able to set up a farm stand and sell organic veggies for cheap.

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