When Wholefoods erupted in the 2000s, Herbo - my Dad - was all like:
“Organic food is just another way for the Liberal elite (now read: woke) to feel superior to everyone else, and as soon as it becomes equal in price, it will lose its luster.”
Sidebar, Herbo never backs down from a fight, and in the 1960s he dawned a suit, tie and umbrella and went down to University Avenue to protest against the hippies, who claimed to represent the voice of his generation - needless to say, he did not agree with said ‘hippies’.
Politics aside, he does bring up a fair point. I don’t have the time to go to a farmer’s market every week to get my food, which means I go to my local No Frills where the Organic food is 20 - 50% more expensive than the regular produce AND, to set it apart, it’s wrapped in plastic with fancy designs (more on that later…)
And all of this begs the question.
Is Organic Food really worth it? Is it healthier and ‘better?
Many experts say it’s important to shift our focus from the organic versus conventional debate and consider other crucial factors that impact our well-being.
1- Unlocking the Power of Phytochemicals:
Phytochemicals are natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, known for their potential health benefits. While it is challenging to directly attribute higher phytochemical levels to organic farming methods, a diverse and plant-based diet can ensure we obtain these valuable compounds regardless of organic or conventional sources.
2- The Significance of Soil Quality and Sustainability:
The quality of the soil used to grow our food plays a vital role in its nutritional value and overall sustainability. Organic farming practices emphasize natural soil nourishment, biodiversity, and minimal use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. By supporting organic farming, we contribute to healthier soil and long-term environmental well-being.
3- Pesticide Exposure For Us AND POLLINATORS, and Residue Management:
In Ontario, we recently banned a number of neonicotinoids, which are known to harm key pollinators like Bees - so even if you buy the ‘regular’ produce grown in Ontario, you are reducing bee harm. However, concerns over human pesticide exposure persist and both organic and conventional foods may contain pesticide residue. Organic farming restricts the use of synthetic pesticides, reducing potential exposure risks. However, it is crucial to note that organic farmers are permitted to use approved natural pesticides. Thoroughly washing produce before consumption can minimize any potential residue, irrespective of farming methods.
4- Plastic Waste & exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals
Like I said, most of the organic products I have access to, are packaged in plastic and often shipped great distances (US and Mexico). Plus, every time I give my kids PC’s organic apples, I’m also giving them a dose of hormone disrupting chemicals. The problem is so bad, some researchers are suggesting these plastics be banned completely, and yet, here we are putting our organic foods inside them. Weird huh?
So there you have it. As always, there isn’t a simple solution, which ultimately makes your grocery shopping experience… complex, and isn’t that what we all need (not)?
I kinda wish ALL food was clean for our bodies and all our pollinator friends and we could focus on other topics, but alas, it’s never that simple or easy, is it?Steve and the whole etee crew