American but still very pertinent to Australians.
From ORGANIC CONNECTIONS:
Organic is a loaded term. For some, it conjures up ideas of lifestyles of the rich and famous, and for others, it is a food play.
Organic is an adjective used to describe food that has been grown without the use of certain artificial ingredients: things like high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial growth hormones and genetically engineered ingredients. By law, none of these things are allowed in the production of “organic” food. But all of these ingredients are new to our food supply, introduced in the last 30 years, which is why we now call food that doesn’t contain them “organic.”
But with so many Americans struggling to pay bills, talking about “organic” foods, produced without the use of all kinds of additives and ingredients, can often sound like a luxury that few can afford.
Why is it so expensive? Because right now, at the federal level, we’ve got an uneven playing field. Farmers that choose to grow food, genetically engineered to be saturated in chemicals, receive financial aid called “subsidies.” They also get marketing support and crop insurance. While farmers growing things organically, don’t, making their products more costly to produce.
Clean and safe food is a right that should be afforded to all Americans, not just those in certain zip codes, especially since it’s our tax dollars going into the farming programs. With organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the President’s Cancer Panel encouraging us to reduce our exposure to all kinds of ingredients now found in our food supply that weren’t there when we were kids, the best way to do that is to buy organic. And until that is the affordable choice for all Americans, not just those in certain socioeconomic brackets, we have our work cut out for us in reforming the financing of our food system.
The bottom line is that all Americans should all be able to feed our families foods that are free-from additives not used in foods in other countries and those that are increasingly being shown to cause harm.
So here are a few tips for those who want to start buying organic food but don’t want to pay the high price:
And find a friend. It is way more fun to have someone cheering you on as you begin to make these changes. And remember, just as our little ones learn to walk by taking baby steps, you can do the same thing here. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. Take those baby steps. Because before you know it, you’ll be off and running.
Robyn is former equity analyst that covered the food industry and author of “The Unhealthy Truth.” She is also the founder of AllergyKids, whose mission is to restore the health of American families by addressing the needs of the 1 in 3 American children that now has allergies, autism, ADHD and asthma and the role that additives in our food supply are having on our health.
Useful info. Interesting that the big stores (Walmart etc) are stocking 'organic'. I wonder is it a phrase that has as little meaning as 'free range' does here.
Some good practical advice to get started.
I find the best way in Australia is to join a co-op or even start your own and make heaps of like-minded friends in the process. We buy bulk and split it into mixed boxes. That way we can enjoy variety. I was amazed that some of the fruit and veggies we buy are actually cheaper bulk than the non-organic ones at my local shops. See our co-op here for inspiration. http://valsvegcoop.wikispaces.com
I'm the same with lettuce and spinach. I have a smattering of other stuff but my main focus is on the things I eat the most.
Mine too. But I also try to grow a few interesting things that might be added to that list eventually....if they do well enough and taste good. Sweet Potato leaves have proven the most useful out of recent "tries".
I'm very grateful for that tip - I use them all the time in my pesto.