Friday, May 11, 2012

The Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen by Lauren Kong

Organic food is all the buzz these days. Everyone talks about whether or not to eat organic. Is it really that more beneficial? Can they afford it?

Food is a necessity. We require energy to fuel our body and our mind. This is a fact. But there are many missing facts when it comes to eating healthy in our country. Some claim that red meat causes cancer andheart disease, so we’re supposed to eat more poultry and fish. But your poultry is pumped full of antibiotics, hormones, and other remnants of dead poultry. Fish has one of the highest carbon foot prints of all food. The packaging required, the chemicals used to keep these meats appearing fresh, and the transport required to deliver it around the globe make it extremely petro-chemically dependent.

Americans have a cultural, social, and psychological dependency on meat.  We think we deserve to have meat three times a day, every day. Buying organic at the supermarket, meat or vegetables, typically means spending 2 to 4 times more on an item than if it is not organic and this hits the pocketbook hard.

This tells something about the organic industry demographic economically and financially. The label that comes with being able to eat organically (healthier) is turning into a form of privilege and power; it surprises me that this hasn’t been brought to public attention. It also surprises me that those in power and with privilege do not do more to help those without access to organic and healthy eating. Our ability to choose a healthier option and to eat a pesticide free apple should be the rule, not the exception.

Power and privilege is played out in our every day lives, we just don’t always recognize it; access to organic food is a great example. There are many myths surrounding organic food and these myths allow for the power and privilege to continue. Misinformation and lack of knowledge are keys to keeping the underprivileged, under. In order to overcome this, discourse must take place and people must be educated and informed on the topic. The more we know, the more we are capable.

I recently learned of the clean fifteen and dirty dozen. It’s a list that states the fifteen cleanest produce and the twelve dirtiest. So if you wanted to purchase some organic produce and some non-organic, this will give you a good start.

I also saw this video that has a lot of basic information about organic and local food. I found it very informational.

I think that by sharing information with one another and starting a conversation about the organic market we can make healthy options the norm for everyone. 

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