I am not a zealot in the organic arena. I will not be raking any muck. There are many people that fill this niche with the passion that is necessary to get the job done.
I love to garden and I want it to be as fun and stress free as possible. That being said, I don’t use chemicals in the garden and I don’t buy processed food. I think GMO’s should be clearly labeled and, while I am not against antibiotics if the infection warrants it, I don’t want them in my food in any form.
And that’s the end of my muckraking career. Now I’m going to tell you the reasons I think you should garden organically and buy local organic produce. That’s what you wanted to know today, right? You thought when you got up, “I think I’ll take a jog before church tonight, and, oh yeah, I wonder why that Paisley woman thinks I should buy local”?
Okay, so probably not. Here goes anyway.
Cost. Although you may pay a few cents more per pound for local organic, the farmer or gardener will be getting 80 to 90 cents on the dollar, compared to ¢.06 for commercially run establishments. See here for my source on that.
I want the person I buy from to be able to keep more of my money. Just like when I sell one of crocheted or knitted items I want to be able to use as much of the money as possible. It’s what’s fair. I spun the yarn, dyed the yarn, designed or chose the pattern, cast it on or chained it and then blocked and finished it. It’s fair for me to keep the money made from the sale except for appropriate tax and money for any supplies necessary.
If you buy locally, you can see where your money goes. You know them, because they are your neighbors. There is accountability, because they are your neighbors.
Common sense dictates that the person making ¢.06 cents is going to have to do whatever is necessary to increase yields, whether that means planting closer, increasing the need for more fertilizer and pesticides, planting more, eliminating forested land and green spaces, or using genetically modified seed to get the desired results. He has to make a living just like anyone else. He has kids to feed.
I choose to pay a little more at a Farmer’s Market for produce, a little more at a local poulterer for eggs and chicken, and a little more for organic cotton and wool. I think the cost is made up in gas expenditures, community affairs (local businesses are more apt to give local support to the communities they are a part) and medical costs of ingesting less chemicals. This is not scientific, just my paisley opinion.
Connections with our source for foods and products gives us connections to ourselves. That sounded a bit trippy and as my kids would say, “you are a hippy”. But, I really don’t mean it that way. I just think it’s important to know where it comes from.
If you ask the average five year old where his food comes from where would he say? McDonald’s? The grocery store? If you ask a gardeners or farmers kids where food comes from, chances are good, you’d get a different answer.
If we know what goes in to getting it, it’s harder to take it for granted. If we place a higher value on it, it’s more likely to have value.
The connections we establish to the source of our sustenance will cause us to make better choices environmentally, educationally, and nutritionally.
I’m not promising your skin will clear up, your hair will grow back and you’ll be able to play the piano, but I think you’ll be able to notice a difference in how you feel. Even if it’s a placebo, who cares if you feel better? I’ll take all the (pure cane) sugar pills you want me to, it it will make my back stop hurting.
I’m not saying that pure, non- genetically modified, non-pesticide covered, non-fertilizer filled food is a placebo. I’m saying, I wouldn’t care if it was.
I happen to feel better since I quit using processed food and commercially produced vegetables and fruits. That’s the evidence I needed, scientific or not.
There’s a reason radishes are better when it’s cooler. Cooler temperatures force them to grow slower allowing them to establish the more complex sugars making them more mild.
I don’t have to know the reason to enjoy the results. If food is grown in season, it produces results that were intended by the design of that species. It is only by forcing things to be the way we want them with little or no regard for the natural timing of plants that we produce fruits out of season. It’s in that force that we lose. We lose, color, size, shape, nutrition or good taste.
This is the “hothouse” tomato verses the vine ripened debate. Give me seasonal or give me death. Okay, not really. But I choose seasonal over Chilean every day of the week. No offense to the people or government of Chile is intended. I do hope they enjoy the fruits of their own labor. I just have no desire to buy them. Although, I do enjoy coffee from Hawaii and Bananas from um…Chiquita? So, I’m not so much of a hippy as my kids would have everyone believe.
Harvest in season and preserve your harvest. You can have seasonally appropriate food year round! I recently found a new blog I love, it’s called Putting By, you should check it out if you have a minute.
And finally and for me the number one reason I buy locally…
No matter how you slice it, local, seasonal food tastes better. The eggs are bigger and yolks richer, making my cakes and pies lighter and more delicious. The butter is sweeter and golden, making my bread almost decadent in a really humble way. = )
Lettuce tastes like lettuce, earthy and peppery, buttery and crisp. Tomatoes are tomatoes not tasteless globes of watery goo. Squash is a treat, melons are desserts, eggplants are to be envied and cucumbers command attention.
The proof, they say, is in the pudding. And my pudding is delicious, ask my non hippy children.
Speaking of taste…
The Ark of Taste list today is the root crops. Check some of these out.
- Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beet
- Gilfeather Turnip
- Green Mountain Potato
- I’ioti Onion
- Inchelium Red Garlic
- Ivis White Cream Sweet Potato
- Lorz Italian Garlic
- Ozette Potato
I have the Inchelium Red Garlic, but the others were new to me. I must say I do want to try some of the potato varieties next fall. We’ll see.
I hope you have a locally harvested paisley day!~KeriAnne