Why Should You Buy Organic
First the why – fruits and vegetables from organic farms are the most environmentally correct method for producing food. These methods eliminate (or greatly reduces) the dangerous threats posed by pesticides. In addition it is better for the environment as is doesn't expose farm workers and the local wild life to harmful chemicals and it does pollute the local water supply with storm water runoff. It also keeps the ethical question of genetically engineered crops out of the immediate conversation. And despite all of the various successes that have been made with organically grown crops it still only accounts for less than 2% of total production.
The scientific community is also expressing an increasing consensus that even small doses of pesticides and related chemicals can have an adverse affect on people, especially the very young and our aging boomers. And because the toxic effects of pesticides are at best, not very well understood and in some instances they are completely unstudied, conscientious shoppers should look to reduce or completely eliminate exposure to pesticides whenever possible.
An organic farm's "Best Practice" in this area is designed to prevent pest problems naturally and to only use organically approved pesticides when absolutely necessary. In a conventional farm their best practice is called "sustainable agriculture practice" or Integrated Pest Management (IPM). It is environmentally dangerous and the resulting amount of pesticides is staggering. Stronger federal regulations to reduce the high toxic makeup of commercial pesticides have continued to stall due to both the strong lobby that these manufacture's have as well as the huge amount of pesticides that need to be reviewed and tested.
According to a recent study by the European Union organic fruits, milk and vegetables are just more nutritious than their non-organic versions. They reported that organic fruits and vegetables have up to 40% more antioxidants while organic milk had 60% more antioxidants and essential fatty acids than the standard commercial fare.
What Organics should you buy?
Now this gets a bit trickier. The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 and their mission is to provide information to protect public health and the environment. They have published a list based on massive amount of research from nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides based on nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produced collected by the Department of Agriculture and the FDA. Here are the top 15 fruits and vegetables that you should avoid the non-organic versions and instead buy organically:
- Peaches (worst)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes - Imported
- Green Beans
- Hot Peppers
Their complete list shows the ratings of 43 non-organic fruits and vegetables and which ones you should avoid in the grocery store and which ones are acceptable. For the complete list as well as some other great information on this subject visit Environmental Working Group.
So now that you know what to look for and which fruits and vegetables you should be looking at organic alternatives for – but what if your grocery store doesn't carry these organic versions? Well we have found a terrific resource to show you not only where to buy the best organic and local fruits and vegetables but in turn you are also supporting your area's farmers and buying local. LocalHarvest is the best organic and local food locating website we have come across and all you have to do is enter in your zip code and an acceptable mile radius that you are willing to drive to get to this produce and they will provide you a list of all the local farms and farmer's markets in your area that sell direct to thee public.