Is Cheapest Best?
Natural Times, January/February/March 2012
By Paul Rutkovsky
The cheapest product is not always the best, and when it comes to putting food into your body, it would seem to be a simple no-brainer decision. Buy the healthiest produce, dairy products, and meats, and avoid synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified food (GMO), recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH) and non free-range meat. Buy organic! Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. Help keep chemicals out of the air, water, soil and our bodies. Our bodies are the environment, so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.
Did you know that conventional agriculture is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)? The amount is around $17 billion per year depending on market prices for crops, the level of disaster payments, and other factors. Organic farmers until recently received no assistance for the costly conversion to organic production. Now there is a relatively small amount available from the Environmental Quality Incentive Program. However, the reason organic produce is often more expensive than conventional is because the USDA provides billions of dollars to help keep costs down for large industrial farmers. Reduce the huge subsidies, and organic products become competitive in price.
But again, price should not be the only reason for avoiding organically grown food. Read below and see what happens to our environment when we buy conventional. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002. Toxic risk from pesticides has already begun before a mother even begins to nurse her newborn. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. We are now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. Organic is the only seal of reassurance against lab-produced additions to our food supply, and the only food term with built-in inspections and federal regulatory teeth.
Eating with a sense of place should be important to all of us. It’s healthier to eat food from your region, whether it’s organic fruits or vegetables, artisan cheese, or free-range beef.
Organic is part of an important cultural revolution, where diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated. Buy organic and celebrate a healthier planet today.