5 Steps to Going Organic
by Leanne Ely, CNC
I almost feel guilty talking about buying organic food because I know how this will affect some people’s pocketbooks. However, to say nothing is to perpetuate the problem of not knowing what’s going on. Information is power and in today’s 21st century, with the availability of an easy education on the Internet, there is no reason not to know what’s what. There are always options that don’t involve a trip to the health food store.
Here are some important things you can do:
1. Buy Select Organics. Check out ewg.org for their Dirty Dozen list and buy those things organically. Remember, when you buy organic, you are supporting organic farmers who are now kindred spirits: this little organic farmer is the guy who is going to effect the most change. The more you buy, the more organic produce is supported. The more organic produce is supported, the more the price will come down.
2. Buy Local. Locally grown stuff can be had at produce stands and farmers markets. It probably won’t be organic, but it won’t be genetically engineered or irradiated either and will be minimally processed. Stay away from produce grown in Mexico and South America—they use pesticides we have outlawed here years ago.
3. Eat in Season. Asparagus in December may seem gourmet, but where were they grown? Unless it is hothouse varieties, chances are good this stuff was grown in areas of the world with less control over pesticides than the U.S. If you are not sure what is in season and what isn’t, look at the prices. Grapes, melon and summer squash will be a lot less expensive during the summer than in mid-January.
4. Grow Your Own. Seriously! Even crowded subdivisions where lot size has more in common with postage stamps than real yards, it can be done. Throw some zucchini in next to the impatients and toss a few tomato plants in terra cotta planters. Basil and other fresh herbs can grow easily on your kitchen window sill. True, you won’t have a big cornfield, but it’s not as hard as you think to grow a few of your own veggies.
5. Build Community. See if there are community gardens in your town. This is an inexpensive option for someone who wants to stick their hands in the dirt and bring home a bounty. Share your plot with another family and turn it into a family project during the growing season.
Have you gone organic in your home? If so, any advice to offer those who haven’t yet?