I’ve heard a lot back and forth about the worth of organic produce vs conventionally grown . I’m going to express my opinion (yes, it’s just my opinion!) on this. This week’s subject is at least partially due to the fact that I am visiting 2 certified organic farms this week as a part of my J-O-B. That is as close as I will ever get to including my career in Practically Well.
And, BTW, I never thought I would actually have a CAREER. I figured that I would have gigs, side hustles and the odd job for as long as I lived. But no, 14 years, a salary and a 401k later, I have a freaking career. Life is strange and funny, neh?
But yes, I have spent a fair amount of time at certified organic farms. And yes, calling yourself “organic” and being certified organic are very different things. There are a number of different governing bodies, but the one thing they have in common is that they are strict as hell. Certified organic farms have to monitor their soil and send samples for evaluation every year. They have to record every action they take, every time they compost, and they have to record where they got said compost, if they made it (and HOW they made it), if they didn’t, who did and where they got their ingredientsfrom. Also where their water came from. They have to submit samples of everything. Everything Bob? Every-freaking-thing people. They also have to worry about what their neighbors are doing. Is there a conventional farm next door using synthetic pesticides? Which way is the wind blowing when they spray? When it rains, which way does their water run off?
It’s crazy stuff.
It’s why organic costs more. They have to be incredibly inventive to keep the soil healthy which, btw, is the way to keep your plants healthy and full of nutrients. Not throwing a bunch of synthetic fertilizers on the plants themselves so that they grow but screw up the soil in the process. And yes, that’s a clinical agricultural research term, “screw up”. They have to invest in natural amendments to the soil to keep it healthy, they have to rotate their crops so that the same plant, season after season, doesn’t deplete the soil. They have to plant cover crops to retain the topsoil while introducing nitrogen or potassium, or, well, other good stuff to the soil in a natural, organic way, They have to figure out ways to keep pests at bay, similar to me when I’m at my favorite bar to have a drink or two and maybe some dinner. That’s what I want to do. Maybe share a story or two with the bar staff or some good friends. But then someone sits down, and you know, you JUST KNOW, that they are trying to start a conversation.
They are slightly turned toward you.
they are looking in your direction.
They are commenting on whatever is on the T.V. To whom?
Well, to no one if not you.
…can’t look at half the room to avoid eye contact..
…have to let their comments hang in the air, or answer with closed ended, one word answers…
…have to act fascinated with my glass of wine, or food, or a knot in the wood of the bar.
WHY CAN’T I JUST COME IN, HAVE A DRINK AND TALK TO THE FOLKS I WANT TO TALK TO!
…but I digress.
Organic farmers use;
Organic pesticides (yes, it’s a thing)
Big birds to scare little birds ( falcons, etc.)
“good” bugs that eat “bad” bugs.
So OK, Bob, it’s a tough gig. The farmers who farm organically are inventive and ingenious and incredibly hardworking. But is it worth it?
A couple of things;
Organic foods often have more nutritional value than their conventional counterparts. One reason for this could be that in the absence of synthetic pesticides, plants have to produce more nutrients like antioxidants and other phytochemicals to protect themselves from disease, pests, temperature change, etc. BTW, that’s what the nutrients are doing in the plants in the first place, protecting them. And when we eat plants that are chock full of these nutrients, they do good stuff for us as well.
Also, it just makes sense to me that if you spray a bunch of chemicals on plants to kill bugs or to make them grow bigger, or prettier, or whatevs, chemicals will be on and in the plant, no matter how many times you wash it or how many water baths you run it through. And if it’s in the plants and I eat it, well then, there you go. There are enough chemicals in my life that I can’t do anything about, like exhaust, tap water, or whatever it is you are burning and sucking into your lungs around me. I don’t need it in my fruits and veggies, peeps.
So that’s my diatribe for the day.
Do the organic farmers a favor.
Do yourself a favor.