Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More Thoughts on Organic Vs. Local, Etc.

There was a very interesting back-and-forth in the comments of my short and quickly-written post about the organic vs. local debate. I'd like to give those comments their due and have been thinking about the issues MooreHaven Gardens raised.

As with most issues facing concerned Americans today, I can only seem to know a little about a lot in order to stay sane and focused. MooreHaven seemed to raise more questions than answers (and that's good) and I feel more confused than ever. I want to join a CSA this year. Is it still a good idea, knowing the farmer has to drive a few hours to deliver the produce? It's true I don't can or preserve anything to last me through the winter...but I guess I could learn how and I'm open to it. I rather like the idea of devoting a weekend to a kitchen full of cans and bottles and being elbow-deep in tomatoes. What about the "big name" products that are now coming out labeled as organic? Are they REALLY organic? I mean, I know they have to pass through a USDA checklist, but how healthy can they be?

I guess what I need to know is....how can I most effectively use my purchasing power? I know that instinctively it just feels better at the farmers' market, handing over cash for fresh produce and eliminating all sorts of middlemen. What do I do during the Winter when we have no market? If I only have room for a very small garden, what are the best things for me to plant? Meaning...what foods that I might buy at the health food store have traveled the farthest?

I need a guide through this murky, confusing world of food politics. MooreHaven Gardens, whoever and whereever you are....care to be my Virgil?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alannah, I'm so glad to see you recovered from your breakdown.

Could be I've made my contribution; I stopped you from blindly following the masses by asking you to examine your goal.

Should you join a CSA? Yes, if you find one that is going to try to grow the veggies you are interested in this season, if you have the disposiable income upfront that you can spare, if you fully understand that a bad year for the grower doesn't always mean you can get a refund if you aren't satisfied with what they were able to provide,if you can find one that leaves an ecological footprint that you're comfortable with.

Are the "big box" organics really "organic"..? Maybe....maybe not. Who would have thought the ingredients for your pet foods were bought by Canadians from the Chinese, shipped to the U.S., to be assembled, packaged, and sold in America ? Who's definition of organic are you going to use as a guide ? The USDA?? Now there's an old man in need of a little blue pill. An interesting forum I'm involved in right now on another site has to do with the question :" We all know the rules governing organics, but does anybody know of anyone who has ever been prosecuted under the law for misrepresenting them...?"

So many questions with only my own sense of morality and mortality to guide me. Could be only one rule holds fast; Local fresh trumps shipped organic everytime. Even WalMart publicly and for the record admits that now.

Sorry it took me so long to respond, I've been out hunting the Organic Food Nazies. Guess I'll have to add you to my Favorites List to keep an eye on ya.

A little light reading for you if you're so inclined: www.cnn.com/2007/health/diet.fitness/04/13/cl.organics/index.html

Who and where am I? Just an old grey-haired hippy in Iowa growing the highest quality of fresh produce that rolling the dice with Mother Nature will allow.

.......and until you rub my lantern again to bring me forth...