Organic and Local: Choices, Not Conflicts

Organic Rice Field With Dew Drops

I’m puzzled that we live in a world of either/or. It seems that, if one thing is good, all others must be bad.

Life isn’t that way.

I thought about that last week when I read a news item from a research firm saying that local now trumps organic. Some people quoted in the report said they were shunning organic and looking only to buy locally-produced food.

I love local. My freezer is stocked with cuts of bison harvested from our small herd, along with lamb, chicken and pork from a couple of nearby farms. My kitchen countertop and refrigerator are overflowing with produce from my garden, and from the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to which I belong.

But, every shopper cannot connect directly with every grower of every item they stock in their kitchen.

My pantry is filled with canned vegetables, soups and other goods purchased from a grocery store. Boxed spaghetti, and a jar of olive oil sit alongside my stove. And my spice rack is filled with jars of this and that.

On those items, the USDA organic seal is my assurance that the food was grown with respect toward nature, and toward keeping GMOs and pesticides out of my diet.

Organic isn’t perfect, but neither is local. Grocery stores in my neighborhood proudly feature locally grown sweet corn. They don’t mention that this conventional sweet corn is regularly sprayed with pesticides throughout the growing season.

It’s not either/or. Organic and local give us great shopping choices. That’s good for customers, and for farmers.

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