Organic Produce – The cost of eating well (or not).

Is it better to buy organic food or not? I am still undecided on the issue if I’m honest. We’re always told to eat healthily but what does eating healthily really mean when push comes to shove? When we buy organic produce, our minds should be set to rest for a number of reasons. We know the food we buy is free from the majority of harmful chemicals and pesticides and the treatment of animals is safeguarded in accordance with high (and naturally healthy) animal welfare standards.

To me, when I think of the word ‘organic’, I really feel that there is (or should be) an extra level of care involved when it comes to how food is treated and sourced. That level of care should not only be in relation to the above mentioned but it should also be there to educate people about how food is grown and what processes are involved. It isn’t simply about buying food which is labelled organic: it should be a movement which helps people truly connect with the natural environment.

A way of life. It is unfortunately an expensive choice but is it the best (or the only) choice?

I had written previously in regards to how it is so easy to take the food we eat for granted. We walk into the supermarket, we select the product we want and hey presto, we buy it and take it home. The thing is – just what is it that we have taken home with us? A disregard for our own health and the natural environment in favour of keeping some spare change in our pockets or have we made a choice that supports the economic and environmental welfare of the society we live in? If we invest in organic food, it will invest in us in turn – surely?

I believe so but there is a problem – there are millions of people to feed on the earth and there is simply no way we can provide the land to grow organic produce for so many people. It is simply impossible. Economically, it costs too much money to invest in it as it is more time consuming to grow organic produce and the cost of manual labour is higher because less chemicals are used for production. Everything has an extra degree of expensive when it comes to eating organic produce and really, from what I can see, it is all a matter of practically, demand and efficiency.

I think when possible, it is always good to buy organic produce as it is better for the environment and hopefully, your own health. Supporting local farmers and buying their produce ensures you buy food that is produced naturally – that sounds a little bit too obvious when you think about it but it makes sense. When you consider how food production for mass consumerism has been treated (the amount of packaging and chemicals used for example, the pollution caused by vehicles in the transportation of food), it makes sense to buy from local farmers who are putting in the extra effort to produce food that is nutritious, tasty and good for the environment. Not only that, but it keeps community spirit and togetherness alive too.

Sounds like a ‘win, win’ situation to me. In theory, yes it is but the reality (as always) is a little bit different. There are so many mouths to feed and not enough time to produce it in a way that benefits everyone. As demand increases, all that matters is that we meet those demands in whatever way we can unfortunately. The sad truth is that there isn’t time for much else. As far as choice is concerned, it all hinges on survival really. A default response to living in a world where the freedom to choose is something of a luxury. Although, we could also say that we can make better use of the land. When you think of how much is used for the rearing of animals for slaughter, perhaps if we ate less meat, we could use the land to grow vegetables. But – we all want to have the freedom to choose, so there we have it. Some of us want to eat meat and some of us choose to be vegetarians. That’s the way it goes.

Like a balloon expanding, it also becomes weaker as it stretches. We could say the same thing is happening when it comes to the consumption of food and how we choose to live. As far as the future is concerned, we are writing it through some of the choices we make and in other ways, the choice has already been made for us – determined by the very same freedom behind making those choices. The freedom we have all come to expect and need could one day spell the demise of our general standards of living and health. You could say that we have become too successful in destroying our own lives without us even knowing it. Freedom wears a cunning disguise sometimes….

© Christina McDonald 2014

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