THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING ORGANIC FOOD xx
I’ve heard multiple debates about the pro’s and con’s of buying organic so I thought I’d give you my scoop on the topic and ways to determine whether you want to make the change 🙂
Growing up in the English/Welsh countryside really exposed me to a high level of ‘home-grown’ produce. My Grandad planted an exceptional ‘vege patch’ and had an amazing greenhouse at his house in Wales…unfortunately he passed away before I was born but my Nan continued to grow the fresh produce in the garden. Every Sunday (for our roast) we would use the fresh potatoes (to this day I’ve never tasted a potato quite like it!), runner beans, broad beans, fresh tomatoes, spring onions and then we would use something for dessert: rhubarb, wild blackberries, apples, pears, gooseberries, damsons or strawberries. So you could say it was quite usual to go and ‘collect’ from the garden for our meals and take home overflowing containers from the quite impressive crop! Also, the area I grew up in is mostly surrounded by farmland so my mum and I would often go and ‘pick your own’ strawberries, raspberries and so on and stop off at the local farms for eggs and fresh milk.
I really saw the time and effort that goes in to growing your own and I developed an admiration for anyone working in the farming community. Unfortunately with the extreme weather we have been seeing in the last few years many farmers worldwide face devastation to their crops every year, making it harder and more expensive to keep their crops for the following year. The downside to this is that we end up importing a larger quantity of our fresh vegetables from overseas, resulting in a lack of support for our local growers.
Clearly, I will always support local produce if possible and I am in the process of planting my own herb garden. I am constantly buying big bunches of herbs that I only really use for one meal so I’m hoping growing my own will be much more cost-effective and will result in less waste. Potentially I would like to grow some fruit or vegetables but I have the tiniest courtyard so I’ll see how the herbs go first!
I’ve compiled a list of things to consider when faced with choosing organic or not:
- Price: Organic food is more often than not the more expensive option and this can be the breaking point for some people, which is completely understandable. Obviously, if you can’t shed out for the ‘organic’ produce its better to buy the non-organic produce than end up in the frozen food aisle!! Maybe curate a list of things that you prefer as organic that you can prioritise, for example I will always buy organic eggs if nothing else as I feel the taste is completely different and I don’t feel comfortable with the ethical standards attached with non free-range eggs.
- If the price is putting you off, why not consider growing your own? You don’t even need a garden these days…there are some ingenious solutions and some self-watering options that can be used indoors. Have a look at Glowpear: http://www.glowpear.com.au/shop/ and Aerogarden: http://www.aerogarden.com/aerogardens/miracle-gro-aerogarden-7-led-1.html and if your after something a bit simpler, check out: Moss Products: http://www.mosshealthygreen.com.au/categories/3-self-watering-pots or Woolly Pocket http://www.woollypocket.com.au
- Pesticides and Chemicals: many people who buy organic food are conscious of their risk of being exposed to pesticides and chemicals. Even though it has been said that most of the chemicals are broken down quite quickly it can still be a concern that these chemicals are going into our bodies in the first place, so it’s worth considering. Also a recent study found that organic crops, on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentrations of Cd and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic comparators across regions and production seasons.
- Taste: As I said earlier, I can definitely taste the difference with eggs and obviously if you are eating food with the skin still on then there is a higher risk that they will be laden with chemicals: think apples, blueberries, peppers, cucumber, lettuce, strawberries and spinach.
- Farming Welfare: Farming is tough especially with the unpredictable weather. Also, to produce ‘organic’ produce farmers have to reach certified-organic standards which can take some time.
- Care for the environment and nature (ethical standards): Clearly growing and eating produce in its natural form free from chemicals has a better impact on the environment.
- Healthy Eating: Eating organic food has more of the antioxidant compounds linked to better health compared to non-organic food and a lower exposure to chemicals and pesticides as this study has found.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to organic food, it has to suit your lifestyle first of all. If you are rushed off your feet and the last thing on your mind is the farmers market on Saturday then eating natural, ‘real’ food whether organic or not (i.e from the ground) would be my priority! There is also no judgment here, everyone can choose their own lifestyle choices, this is merely an article to point you in the organic direction if that is what you are conscious of!
Number one is look after yourself, be true to yourself and do what you can to stay healthy and nourish that body of yours 🙂
Photographer: Chris Lew
Location: Chiswick restaurant Woollahra
Special thanks to Matt Moran and the team at Chiswick Restaurant xx