Hey everyone! Today is my first guest posting! I am so honored to have from Diane from Turning The Clock Back doing this for me! She has a great blog on lots of eco-friendly reviews and giveaways as well as some other great articles. And this is just a preview of what she has! I hope you that when you get done reading this, you'll go check her out!
It's Not All About You!!
I was at the grocery store the other day and overheard a conversation between a mother and her daughter (I would say she was about 10). They were picking out bananas and the daughter pointed out the organic bananas at 99 cents per pound. The mother said that they were going to get the conventionally grown bananas at 59 cents a pound because banana's come in a 'special shell' and as a result, (and I quote) "We don't need to worry about buying organic". Since I am not prone to confrontation and didn't really feel like debating such a topic in the produce section of the grocery store, I kept my mouth shut. But this conversation between mother and daughter has played over and over again in my mind the last few weeks and I wanted to stop and tell someone that It's Not All About YOU!
Now, don't get me wrong...my cart is not full of 100% organic groceries. I would be broke if I tried to feed my family just organic food. But the bigger picture I want people to see is that our choices in the grocery store have consequences beyond just our own health and well being. It truly bothered me to hear that mother tell her child that "organic doesn't matter". We hear in the media about the "Top 12 Foods to Eat Organic" and the "Clean 15: Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic" and while our pocketbooks need to make some choices for us, let's not delude ourselves into thinking that the consequences of traditional farming practices stops within our own bodies.
So, what are these far reaching consequences? Here is a quick summary and the links below will lead you to more detailed information if you want it.
Air Pollution: "Pesticide drift" is when pesticide particles suspended in the air are carried by the wind to other areas. Air pollution is also caused by trucks, ships and airplanes that have to haul our foods to market. It is estimated that the average family meal travels 1500 miles! "In 2005, the import of fruits,nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road." Studies have shown significant increases in certain types of cancers in farmers and field workers using conventional fertilizers and pesticides.
Water Pollution: Over 90% of wells sampled in a study by the US Geological Survey show pesticide contamination. This is our drinking water! Accidental spills, contamination from runoff or leaching through the soil and into the groundwater...pesticides don't stay where you put them! The increase in nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff has resulted in the largest dead zone in history in the Gulf of Mexico. "Currently the most notorious dead zone is a 22,126 square kilometre (8,543 mi²) region in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi River dumps high-nutrient runoff from its vast drainage basin, which includes the heart of U.S. agribusiness, the Midwest."
Soil Pollution: The use of pesticides decreases the biodiversity of the soil and consequently reduces the available organic matter. Since organic material holds water better than inorganic material, this makes plants less resistant to drought. It has been shown that organic farms have had yields 20-40% higher than conventional farms in times of drought.
These are just a FEW of the consequences to air, land, and water that conventional farming causes. Add in the detrimental effects on the plants, animals, birds, fish, and microbial life and you will see that paying a few extra pennies for organic bananas might not be such a bad idea.
If you build it, they will come! Demand for organic and locally grown foods is on the rise. Farmer's markets, organic grocery stores, and home gardening, have become commonplace throughout the country. As demand increases, prices will decrease (I hope!) and supplies will be more readily available. Until then, do what you can afford to do but don't tell yourself (or your children) that your choice doesn't matter. You vote with your dollar, spend it wisely!
Wikipedia: Environmental Effects of Pesticides
Wikipedia: The Dead Zone Ecology
National Resource Defense Council: Health Facts:Food Miles