Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To buy organic or not to buy organic

Upon loading a heap of items onto the conveyer belt at the grocery store last night, the man behind me mentions he's just there to buy a gift certificate.  I allow him to move ahead of me, hoping that perhaps his gift certificate is a good deed, and therefore worthy of mine.  In any event, he feels compelled to speak with me now, since we're good-deed-pals, and upon eyeballing my loot he says "do you really think it matters to buy organic?" 

Now, mind you, we're not in line at Whole Foods.  We're in line at my neighborhood Food Kitty where organic products are (a) few and far between and (b) not necessarily in the forefront of this particular shopping demographic's consciousness. 

"Well, honestly, I'm not sure.  I think so, but who knows.  I feel pretty strongly about buying organic milk, but I wonder sometimes about whether the rest of it is worth it."

"Mmmmm"  he says to me. 

"I think it makes me feel better about the product, but there's a financial trade off that I'm not always willing to make."

He realizes that maybe he shouldn't have asked and that he hadn't anticipated that I would be such a chatty good-deed buddy.

So, I've seen these lists before, but I'm reposting the following list, which I came across today, coincidentally, which tied up the loose end of last night's shopping adventure nicely:
The Dirty Dozen: These fruits and vegetables tend to be high in pesticide residue when grown conventionally. Buy them from an organic source whenever you can.

•sweet bell peppers
•spinach, kale, collard greens
•imported grapes

The Clean 15*: When grown conventionally, these items remain low in pesticide residue. There are fewer advantages to buying them from an organic source.

•sweet corn
•sweet peas
•kiwi fruit
•sweet potato
•sweet onion

*Data and title courtesy of the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Isn't there an APP for this somewhere?  Hmmmmmmmmm.

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