A study reviewed today on CNN indicates that organic produce is not higher in nutrients than non-organic produce. Duh!
Studies like this drive me nuts because they focus on the wrong point and then further guide people in the wrong direction.
I buy organic produce whenever I can but not because I think it's nutritionally superior at an elemental level. It's superior because it has fewer toxins from pesticide residues, it's not coloured and polished to look and taste like wax, and it's grown with respect for nature not against it. It's also ridiculously delicious if it is grown locally and ultra fresh when consumed.
My criteria is this: I want organic for any fruits or vegetables where the skin is consumed, and grows above the ground. I do not consider it essential for other items, though always preferable in terms of caring for the earth. It's common sense: if the poisons used to control weeds and pests are directly exposed to the food item, I don't want to eat it. (See my shopping list below.)
But why do I buy organic?
Not because I think it's nutritionally superior. I buy organic because:
-I do not want to ingest pesticide residue if I can help it. I believe it is a healthier choice for me and you and our planet. Consider it preventative medicine.
-I want to support organic farming which I believe is better for the earth and ultimately will be better economically for the farmer. I realize this can take time if they are converting a conventional farm back to an organic farm, but nature can certainly ultimately guide farming better than guys in laboratories. Farmer John's story is a good example of this. When returning to natural farming practices, the earth will rebel for a while as it detoxes.
-I appreciate spotty and misshapen apples. I am repulsed by the waxed, perfectly shaped, and oh-too-red apples so readily available. Ditto for all other fruits and veggies. You know what it looks like when you grow your own: things can be odd and misshapen, have blemished skins and guess what: TASTE FANTASTIC.
-I hope by buying organic, that collectively, we'll help bring the prices down, and close the gap between where our food is grown and where we consume it. Better for our environment and better taste! Obviously organic does not mean local, but when the two coincide: delicious! Sometimes now I notice that something organic will actually be less expensive than the regular stuff. I always check prices and never assume organic is more expensive any longer. That's progress.
While the study in the CNN report looked at nutritional elements, it did not address pesticide and chemical and fertilizer residues. In other words, toxic chemicals present in the produce. Those, I am certain, harm our bodies and this earth. If you replace 'nutritionally superior' with 'more health supporting', organic is indeed superior. No question about it. And the fresher the food, i.e. the shortest time between harvest and consumption, the higher the nutrients.
My Shopping Guidelines
I've done my homework for my area: please do your own homework where you are as there may be other concerns about food health and safety.