My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘Dirty Dozen’

Organics You Can Afford 9 ways to bring organic food within reach By Robyn O’Brien

how to afford organics-basket of veggies

In a world in which we are increasingly worried about the health of our families, the stability of our jobs, and all of life’s responsibilities, the simple act of trying to eat healthy often becomes a challenge.

And with so many Americans food insecure and on food stamps, talking about organic foods—produced without the use of all kinds of additives and ingredients—can often sound like a luxury that few, if any, can afford.

But as organizations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the President’s Cancer Panel encourage us to reduce our exposure to everything from pesticides to artificial growth hormones, the fact is that we should all be able to feed our families foods that are free-from additives that are increasingly being shown to cause harm. (Wondering what the most contaminated foods are? Find out with The Dirty Dozen.)

More from Prevention.com: What You Need To Know About GMOs

So here are a few tips for those who want to start buying organic food but don’t want to pay the high price:

1. Go orgo-generic: Major grocery store chains like Safeway and Kroger, and big box food retailers like Costco and even Wal-Mart, now carry their own organic foods. And all foods labeled “USDA organic” are created equal, no matter where you find them. No need to upscale your grocery store when Wal-Mart gets it done.

2. Buy frozen: Frozen foods (like strawberries and fish) are cheaper than those that are delivered fresh. So if the prices on fresh produce are eye-popping, cruise on over to the frozen food aisle for a discount.

3. Eat with the season: Retrain your taste buds to think like your grandmother did. She didn’t eat strawberries in the middle of winter. Locally grown foods are usually cheaper than those flown in from another hemisphere, so if you eat with the season, you’ll be eating more affordably.

4. Skip the box, embrace the bulk: Food that comes in boxes costs more because of the packaging costs associated with designing those pretty pictures. When you buy in bulk, you’re not paying for all of the packaging—you’re paying for the food, which is what you wanted in the first place. So slide on over to that bulk food aisle in Safeway and look for noodles, cereals, and rice and beans.

5. Support the US economy and buy local: You can save money by becoming a member of a local farm (just like you became a member at Safeway or Costco!). How do you find a local farm, you ask? Well, thankfully, the USDA now has a list of online sites to help you find the closest farm near you, so click here to log onto the USDA site.

6. Comparison shop: You wouldn’t buy a car without comparison shopping, so before you even head out the door, you can compare the prices of organic foods at different retailers from the safety of your own computer at Eat Well Guide.

7. Coupons, coupons, coupons: Organic bargains are everywhere, so click on About.com’s Frugal Living page where you will find All Organic Links.

8. Grow one thing: If you’re as busy as we are, there’s not a chance in creation that you’re going to be able to feed your family off of your home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can be incredibly inspiring. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. So pick one thing to grow—you can do it (we all grew lima beans in cups as kids, right?)

9. Find a friend.  It’s way more fun to have someone cheering you on as you begin to make these changes. And remember, just as our little ones learn to walk by taking baby steps, you can do the same thing here. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. Take those baby steps. Because before you know it, you’ll be off and running.

Need some more inspiration? Check out The Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic.

Read more: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/how-afford-organic-food?cm_mmc=facebook-_-Prevention-_-news-blog-_-OrganicFoodYouCanAFford#ixzz22cnItMt9

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To Buy or Not to Buy Organic

by Michael Pollan

Should I buy local foods or stick to organic?

It depends on what you value most. If keeping pesticides out of your food is your highest value, then buy organic. If you care most about freshness and quality or keeping local farms in business and circulating money in your community, buy local. But very often you can do both. Some local farmers are organic in everything but name, so before you decide to pass them up, ask them not “Are you organic” – to which the answer must be no if they haven’t been certified – but rather, how do you deal with fertility and pests? That starts a more nuanced conversation that may convince you to buy their produce.

We can’t afford to buy all our produce organic, so where should we direct our money to get the most benefit?

On produce, some items, when grown conventionally, have more pesticide residue than others, so when buying these, it pays to buy organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, the “dirty dozen” most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale/collards. The “clean 15” are onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms. So if you’ve only got a little money to devote to organic, buy the organic apples and skip the organic onions. But do keep in mind that it’s important to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables regardless of how they’re grown.

Why are vegetables and meat labeled “organic” so much more expensive than similar items without the “organic” label?

There are several reasons organic food costs more than conventional food. First, the demand for it exceeds the supply, and presumably, as more farmers transition to organic, the price will fall, though it will never match conventional prices. For one thing, organic farmers receive virtually no subsidies from the government. (European governments significantly subsidize the transition to organic; ours doesn’t.) But even on a level playing field, farming organically would probably remain more expensive. Farming without chemicals is inherently more labor-intensive, especially when it comes to weeding. In animal agriculture, raising animals less intensively is always going to cost more.

Think about it this way: The “high” price of organic food comes a lot closer to the true price of producing that food – a price we seldom pay at the checkout. It’s important to remember that when you buy conventional food, many costs have been shifted – to the taxpayer in the form of crop subsidies, to the farmworker in the form of health problems and to the environment in the form of water and air pollution.

 O.K., apart from a clearer conscience, what does the premium paid for organic food get you as a consumer?

Organic food has little or no pesticide residues, and especially for parents of young children, this is a big deal. There is also a body of evidence that produce grown in organic soils often has higher levels of various nutrients. (But whether these are enough to justify the higher price is questionable.) Probably for the same reason, organic produce often tastes better than conventional (though a cross-country truck ride can obviate this edge).

So it’s possible to make a case to the consumer for the superiority of organic food – but the stronger case is to the citizen. Farming without synthetic pesticides is better for the soil, for the water and for the air – which is to say, for the commons. It is also better for the people who grow and harvest our food, who would much rather not breathe pesticides. Producing meat without antibiotics will also help stave off antibiotic- resistance. If you care about these things, then the premium paid for organic food is money well spent.

Are there real opportunities for consumers to make an impact on factory farming, unsustainable agriculture and animal cruelty?

Absolutely. As the market for humanely raised meat grew in recent years, the industry responded. The egg industry recently committed to an effort to phase out tightly confining cages for laying hens; some pork producers are phasing out gestation crates; McDonald’s has taken steps to ensure that the meat it buys is slaughtered more humanely; Chipotle now buys only humanely raised pork. There is no question that agribusiness responds to the “votes” of consumers on these issues. The food industry is terrified of you. And PETA!

Related DVDs

Food Matters

Food Matters is a feature length documentary film informing you on the best choices you can make for you and your family’s health. In a collection of interviews with leading Nutritionists, Naturopaths, Scientists, M.D.’s and Medical Journalists you will discover…Format: DVD – Region Free
Running Time: 80 minutes
Price: $24.95

Fresh The Movie

Fresh is more than a film it is a reflection of a rising movement of people and communities across America who are re-inventing our food system. Fresh is a guide that empowers people to take an array of actions for healthier local food solutions.Format: DVD – Region Free
Running Time:
Price: $29.95

http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/to-buy-or-not-to-buy-organic

2012 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

From:  http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/2012-shoppers-guide-to-pesticides-the-dirty-dozen-clean-15

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