Is Organic Always Better for the Environment?

19 Jun

Last week, as I bounced through the halls of Whole Foods with a $25 gift certificate in hand (thanks to the boy’s efforts — he drove a Subaru Forrester as part of a marketing gimmick to win the certificate), my mind turned to an article in Wired I had read recently about organic foods.

According to the piece, organic farming sometimes results in lower yields that conventionally farmed produce, resulting in more land needed for agriculture. Environment loses.

Plus, when organic produce is flown around the world so that Whole Foods can stock organic tomatoes from New Zealand next to organic butternut squash from Israel, lots and lots of fuel is consumed in the process.

So what’s a greenie to do? Is it a lose-lose situation or can you be green and eat pesticide-free food?

It is, as always, not an easy solution. The best thing, without a doubt, is to buy local. Shop at the farmer’s market and buy local produce — even if it is not organic.

Don’t turn down genetically engineered foods — GE foods often raise yields, meaning less land has to be used for farming.

And eat seasonally. If you’re buying tomatoes in the dead of winter, whether they are organic or not, they are likely being grown in either a greenhouse or halfway around the world.

Cut down on dairy and meat. Cows are big emitters of greenhouse gases (methane, anyone?).

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Posted by on June 19, 2008 in Uncategorized


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