More than organic

I’m not really a fan of Organic as a panacea for our eating ills, and the complexities of agriculture and our food system are grossly oversimplified and generally not served well by the co-opted use of the term, but this post is pretty interesting. I’m baffled by #4, but Wikipedia says ketchup’s got about 6.5 times the amount of lycopene per gram that a straight-up tomato does, so I can go along with that (since Wikipedia is a reliable source for facts and everything).

Tangentially: Maybe it’s because I’ve been thoroughly indoctrinated by my work and the food-activist circles I’m surrounded by, but I get sort of anxious if I have to resort to buying from the supermarket. I feel guilty. But if I’m stuck shopping at Whole Foods or Key Food, I’ll more likely than not choose an organic product over a conventional product. To me, it makes sense to put my money where my mouth is (and while it tends to be wrapped around a morsel of pork, I also speak often of local, seasonal, family farms, etc.). I can spare the extra dollar or whatever to at least support the idea of and an industry geared toward a more responsibly produced food. But only when it comes to the processed stuff, and none of that is usually local, seasonal, etc. I buy produce from near by (except for lemons, limes, and the occasional banana), even if it’s not organic. This is my way of voting with my dollar, I guess, though I’m ambivalent about whether it means or does anything ultimately. On the other hand, because organic labeling is so fuzzy (and nearly meaningless) in this country, I go out of my way to shop at the Greenmarket or to pick up a share from my CSA. I would guess that I get 80-90% of my food that way. And many of those guys aren’t certified organic (because their methods already go beyond organic standards, because certification is expensive, because they don’t think it means anything either).

I’ve beaten this dead horse before, and you know this dead horse if we’ve ever talked about buying food or this country’s fucked-up food system, but I felt like it had to be put out there again since people still ask me, “Slow Food? That means you eat organic, right?”

No, not really.


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