March 23, 2010

So What's In "Organic" That's Worth The Extra Cost?

This is a question I actually asked myself to feel better about not spending money on organic food. I just didn't see the point. And I KNOW where people come from when they ask the same questions about organic food...

So, I will try to answer the question that a while ago, I couldn't. What's in Organic that's worth the extra cost? Well, it's what's NOT in the food that answers the question. PESTICIDES. Yuck.

I was reading about organic farming, and it DOESN'T contain chemicals, which should make it cost less, right? Well, throwing the chemicals out, also throws out the EASE in growing and raising. It takes MORE care to keep pests from plants, and more work to grow organic grains and grasses to feed animals organic... Instead of simply spraying the bugs away or giving shots to animals for prevention, you actually have to use your brain to keep pests from your plants (like using beneficial bug, to eat the pests) and you have to give animals exercise and good nutrition to prevent from diseases.

Make more sense??? Here is a great article on organic foods. It may help explain things a little more.

But today, as a mom on a budget, I wanted to see what I should be spending my money on and what I don't really need to. Here is what I came up with...

The top foods to buy organic:
  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Meat & dairy
  • coffee
Interesting, huh? Each fruit has their individual reasons for absorbing so many pesticides, whether it be because they grow in the ground, they have a thin skin, you EAT the skin, or they just need sprayed more to keep away pests. I was reading that non- organic butter can have 20 times the amount of pesticides as the conventionally grown fruit and veggie... Read about that is THIS article.

Here is another great article for learning the differences in "natural", "Organic", "grass-fed", etc... Plus, LOTS of other great information.

Now, as a mom, as a wife... what do you do with this info?

Well, it isn't my way or the highway... but, I usually do one thing at a time. Start small, then grow. I hope to, by this summer, not need to worry about many of the things on the "12 Worst list". But for now, I am changing one item at a time. A while back I started buying organic potatoes, it's not on the top 12 but I know it is high on the list. Then I started buying organic carrots. Lately, I have been buying organic lettuce. My budget is now used to spending that extra on these organic items, plus I watch like a HAWK for sales on these items. I recently got organic apples from my sister who got some on sale, and we were blessed with some organic Dominican Republic coffee from my MIL. So, start small. Buy on thing at a time. Allow your budget to be able to absorb the "blow" of the extra cost of these items. BUY IN SEASON. This will help the costs tremendously. People, once they KNOW that you are making the switch to organic may pick up some deals for you! Or may "gift " you with some great organic items from their travels!

Either way, if you are like me, start small, move up...

I hope all of this info has helped someone out there understand the importance of organics. Read the resources I gave you, and question what you want to do! Study up on the "effects" of pesticides on children, very scary. Study up on all of these things, don't just take MY word for it, or the word of one article. Look around, and you will have the knowledge you need to make an educated decision for your family.


Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Sarah, the pesticides on produce is enough to cause one to run to organics, but the thing that really pushed me over the edge is the fact that unless an item is organic, you can't be sure it isn't genetically modified. (GMO). I think most people think this is just another 'hybrid', but it couldn't be any further from the truth. GMO's are plant cells that have been split, injected with the DNA of non-plants, and more.

I agree that we can't switch all at once to organics. But it should be a high goal for each person. I would encourage your readers to immediately cease from eating anything that has corn or soybean in it that isn't organic as these two foods are the top genetically modified foods.

Anonymous said...

I agree - it can be very overwhelming. People gasp when they see Organic milk in my fridge and ask how can I afford to buy it. Simple, I tell them. We don't buy pop! IF people would add up how much they spent on pop and other high fructose sweetened drinks and such they would probably equal or surpass my beverage budget. I don't even thing twice about it anymore nor feel a bit guilty that I spend about $5.69 on a gallon of Meijer brand Organic Milk (the cheapest I can find around here).