Archive: Feb 2011

It’s a small, small world

I’ll admit it. I was slow to get on the organic train. I’d ask, “What does organic mean anyway? Isn’t all food carbon-based and thus organic?”

I viewed the organic label as just another gimmick to lure you in and get you to pay more for nothing. But then I started to think small.

I started reading the fine print and learned that organic farming is all about quality of life. The farmers’ lives. The animals’ lives. The life of the soil. All life on Earth including little ol’ skeptical me.

By practicing more responsible business models, organic food producers are not only concerned about the use hormones, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides on the environment, they are also concerned about how those chemicals impact both the health of animals and the health of the consumers whose families depend upon quality, safe products.

While reading the small print, I learned how little my health matters to the businesses that maintain factory-farming conditions like those that contributed to the salmonella outbreak last year where investigators found piles of chicken feces 8 feet high next to birds stacked and trapped in cages while being fed ratfeces-laden feed. Despite those factories receiving multiple warnings, they were never shut down, and half a billion eggs from those conditions made it to stores.

Those not so small problems made it worth it to me to pay a little more for my eggs, milk, and meat to know that, in addition to reducing my exposure to unnecessary chemicals, I am supporting farmers who allow their chickens to keep their beaks, their pigs to sunbathe, and their cows to actually eat grass. Just as every kid knows cows are supposed to eat grass, I know everything organically raised – growing as it should, eating as it should, living as it should – tastes worlds better: from carrots to yogurt to eggs, each organic item I remember what food is supposed to taste like.

Eating and buying organic is all about thinking small. The small change of adding organic products to my shopping cart makes a small change in what my grocery store stocks, which gives smaller, more responsible companies a chance to compete with those agribusiness juggernauts who sacrifice taste, quality, and health for profits.

I eat organic because I accept that we have responsibility to protect this small world we all share.

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