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What is organic?


Posted by S J.

I had recently been to the farmer's market and I asked one of the seller whether his produce was organic. He said that they do not use any pesticides but he was not certified organic. His produce was very fresh and I really believe that we should support our local farmers. Many of the farmers do practise organic farming but dont have the reuired certification. So what should one do, support the local farmers or go for the certified organic produce?

 
Answers (8)
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Many avatars of the Sustainable movement debate, this very question; Local or Organic. You can go yourself to ccof.org and see the stringent requirements USDA and the stricter CCOF (Cal. Cert. Org. Farmers) expect members to comply with. It sounds like you are doing the right thing by supporting your local Farmer's Market. It is better to talk to the actual folks who produce your food and ask them questions rather than buying blindly from a conventional supermarket. Buying Organic is important as it assures that there are no pesticides in the food or in the land or water runoff where it was grown. However, a lot of organic foods are grown far away and there is a huge cost associated with this in pollution, oil dependence and fuel expenditure from the plane, boat, truck and/or train ride your food had to take to make it to your plate. The Local food which may have been grown with pesticides and ripened in soil enriched with petroleom based fertilizer still has a much less impact on our environment than that Organic Apple grown in New Zealand or those Organic Melons from Costa Rica. I believe the best bet is buying Local Organic Products. In absence of this, it is best to weigh the information and use your best judgement to buy Local or Organic.....It's a more complicated topic than we'd all like. I also recommend an amazing book on the topic; "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan.
I believe we need to know more about our food in general. Asking the producer of the food is a smart and useful idea. Some stores who carry organic food invite the growers to meet the consumers. This is always fun because it our chance to get in touch with the makers of our food we put in our body. I highly recommend this activity.
I enjoyed reading the comment by Chef Jeff R. because I never thought about the impact my wanting organic food could have on the environment as a whole. However, it is a very valid point. My desire to eat organic food should not come at such a price to the environment. Moreover, locally grown food does taste great, and is probably free of pesticides just like organic food. Most likely, the main difference is the lack of marketing that is done by branded organic foods.
For further information on exactly what "organic" means and the various (government-defined) labels associated with it, check out the Consumer Information section at the National Organic Program's website: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Consumers/brochure.html. Also, presently, there is a huge debate about this very subject going on between the government and big and small food companies. It's terribly political and because the labeling of a product makes a tremendous difference on the marketability of a product, the big meat and produce businesses are pushing their agendas'scary. This means we consumers need to be on alert on how this effects laws and labeling surrounding our food.
Each little jurisdiction controls what is "organic". Sometimes, a farmer could have every thing on a checklist covered except one thing, like the source of fertilizer or something, and not be able to be certified organic. And, not to be too Richard Belzer-conspiracy oriented, but there is big money now in organic certification. It might be that some farmers don't know the "right" people! I'd take a look at the size of the farm and who's running it. Also, what are they growing? Certainly, tender loving care put into baby, heirloom veggies ought to tell you something about their practices.

I really don't think there is any need to be legalistic about the concept of "organic" =) We should support local farmers!!! They are the real "organic" not those who rub our wallet with a sign written "organic".

Also, talking about the concept of "organic", Trader Joe's have it nailed down pretty well =) I don't remember exactly what they are, check the wall next time you were there!

All the best!

Support the local farmers as much as possible. Just because it says 'certified organic' does not necessarily mean its organic. At least with the local farmers, you know its fresh and free from chemicals.

Monique

www.easyvegetarian.blogspot.com

there are several types of organic,organic foods,organic farming and etc. I focus more on organic foods. Organic foods are made according to certain production standards. It is more nutritous and healthier.

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<a href=http://www.ichatorganicfood.com/>Organic Foods</a>

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