Okay so organic is the current buzz word at the grocery store and everyone seems to be jumping on the band wagon. I often get asked if I buy organic or what do I buy organic. Like my grandmother calling me about Olive Oil. Anyway this is what I think. Organic is just another way for the government to stick their hands in farming. Do I buy organic from the grocery store, YES because I know it is better for me and maybe for the environment. But I really don't buy much from the grocery store. I would certainly never buy meat from the grocery store- even if it says Organic. When people think organic they visualize a pasture full of green grass and cows, but that is not what organic looks like. Organic meat can still be confinement farmed and feeding only grain, which by the way cows are not equipped to eat, just so the grain is organic! What people should visualize are cows standing knee deep in their own waste with barley any room to move fattening up on corn! I don't think that is better for the environment or me. Okay so what do I mean cows are not meant to eat corn, well they are ruminant animals cud chewers and without getting into all the biology there are enzymes and bacteria that live in a cows stomachs that help it digest grass- not corn. Corn will eventually kill the cow, it is kind of like if you ate from a well known fast food chain everyday, 3 times a day you will live but probably not as long as if you ate a healthier diet. Now I do not claim to be an expert on all of this, these are just things that I have gathered along the way along with my opinion. So, what do we eat? Well we buy our meat from local farmers and ones that are pasture based. Most of the farmers that we know and buy from are not certified organic but use organic practices- how would you know- go to the farm and talk to the farmer! When a farm wants to be certified organic that cost money and it is not cheap. Pasture raised will be the next buzz word, but be careful. Chickens can be called free range if they have access to a pasture- problem is for the first half of their lives they are confined and when the door is finally open to the world they have no idea what it is and will not go out. Again buy local and go to the farm!
What about vegetables. The best is to grow your own second best buy from a local farm. Again when people buy organic from the grocery store they picture small farms where people hand harvest the veggies- nope most of the organic vegetable farms are owned by large conglomerates just trying to make a couple more bucks off of you! They use machines just like conventional farms. And is it better for the environment? Probably a little but not much they still have a monoculture. How do you find local veggie farms? Well, you could always go to the farmers market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture) like Loon Organics or check out others from the Land Stewardship directory. Also shop at Minnesota Co-ops and look for the local label.
Our new years resolution, we will no longer eat meat that comes from CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), we are planning a big garden this year that we will can and freeze more of our food, and we will buy local as much as we can.
If you want to learn more I would highly recommend reading Omnivores Dilemma, by Michael Pollan and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver for starters.
Thanks for listening.