A friend told me about an experience she had at the farmer’s market once. She asked one of the vendors whether or not their produce was grown organically and was given a surprising response: “You young kids don’t know anything” she said, “Organic isn’t even a real thing, it’s just one of your fads. If we farmed organically, nothing would survive.” While I understand farming in North America is extremely tough right now (with the pressure to conform to fast-food, and biotech standards) to think that farmers have bought into the idea that sustainable and organic farming is impossible, scares me. Organic is not a fad, or a made up word by hippie youth and the trendsetting elite, though sometimes it’s treated that way. All “organic” means is that it’s real, unaltered, natural FOOD. As far as I know, we humans can’t survive without it. The fact that we even need such a term to differentiate ‘real food’ from ‘fake food’ is a pretty strong indication that something is wrong with what we’re eating.
Franken-Fruits & Veggies
By far, my favourite part of going grocery shopping is selecting fresh, nutrient filled fruits and vegetables. If only I weren’t limited to a small aisle in the back corner of the department. It’s not always easy to buy good organic produce. Most of the produce available has been sprayed, dusted, and modified in ways that make its effects on the body unpredictable. It’s important to be mindful of what toxins we take in through conventional produce. Pesticides and GMOs have been linked to such side effects as cancer, birth defects, organ disruption, allergies, and infertility, to name a few. You would think that foods like this would not be allowed on the market, but in a capitalist society, health is not priority. Profit from the biotech industry (and possibly a clever eugenics initiative to remedy the population-growth problem?) reigns supreme.
Quick and Easy
People are very busy with the rat race and are convinced that there is not enough time to breathe let alone make a meal from scratch. This lifestyle demands that food be made available quick, either at a fast food window or from the prepackaged dinners that can be microwaved. We are vulnerable to the time constraints we put on ourselves and as a result we suffer from the side effects of the carcinogenic and nutritionally void nature of convenient food, not to mention the effects of stress on our bodies.
The Green Elephant in the Room
Why does real food that sprouts from the Earth cost more than food that’s been altered in a lab by numerous scientists and consists of 50 different chemical ingredients? It’s all about priorities. The government subsidizes farmers of GM crops like corn and soy that is used in virtually all processed foods. This makes it possible for these junky products to be extremely cheap and for the farmers to turn a huge profit (the government also turns a huge profit in the sick-care industry afterwards so everybody wins… except the sick people who ate the junk, of course).
A lot of people refuse to buy organic because it’s more expensive than conventional “food”. I get this, money is tight and I enjoy a deal as much as the next person living off student loans, but I value my health more than I value my money, and I prioritize my expenses accordingly. All you can do is the best you can. I didn’t start buying organic all at once. I started with a few items and it grew from there. On average, I only spend about $25 a week more on groceries than I used to, but I get what I pay for. I have more energy, I’m sick less, I’m more balanced on all levels, and that is worth more than any amount of money.
Buying organic may be a fad to some people, but to many others it is an indication that people are waking up and taking note of what they put into their bodies. All is not right in the world of food, and our purchases can either perpetuate the lack of ‘real food’, or create a demand for more ‘real food’. It’s your choice.
Watch the trailer of Food Inc. here: