Tag Archives: organic vs. local

Organic vs. Local Foods – two heavyweight contenders in the food scene

I have been thinking the past few months about the lack of creative outlets in my life and how much I enjoy writing.  This is one of the main reasons I started my blog.  But, I have also been thinking about what it might like to do this in a more public arena.  So this week I applied to be a writer for the Examiner.com.  Below is my writing sample that I submitted. The submission actually removed the quotes due to a 200-300 word limit, but I think they compliment the theme of divergent viewpoints on this topic, so I included them for the blog.

Organic vs. Local – Two heavyweight contenders on the food scene

“Organic foods are the only things that will ever pass these lips.  My body is a temple.”

“We have to save the planet and the best way to do this is by harnessing our purchasing power to reduce our carbon footprint by buying only local foods.

These are the new food consumer stereotypes.  Chances are you do not exclusively fit into only one of these categories.  You most likely dabble in one or both.  You may be an expert on the philosophies driving the organic food and the local food movements.  However, you have probably heard of them.

So which are better – organic foods or local foods?

The answer: it depends and you get to decide.

Michael Pollan, who advocates for real food in his latest book In Defense of Food, sheds some light on the subject with Organic Gardening magazine. When asked if he supports organic over local foods, he responded that if [he] were a supermarket shopper he would [support organic over local], because you can’t meet farmers face to face and you don’t really know what they’re doing.

Christopher Wanjek, author of Bad Medicine and Food at Work has another take on the controversy, stating in 2006 on the online publication LiveScience.com that [he doesn’t] worry so much, as long as it is local.  [He] can trust the food because [he’s] buying it from the person who produced it.

Food philosophies are typically not black and white.  There are not true right and wrong choices.  Food is a reflection of your ideals and what you think is important.  If being “green” (i.e. conserving energy) and supporting the local economy is of primary importance, keep your food origins close to home.  If fueling your body with the most natural foods is your mantra, please continue to nourish your body with organic foods.

But take heart that there is a happy medium.  Many local foods are organic and if you are not sure, get to know your farmer.  Talk to the worker at the farm stand. Many farms that offer CSA’s in the Charlotte area host farm tours on the weekends where you can learn all about their farming practices.  Also, more and more grocery stores, like Harris Teeter, are labeling their produce as “NC grown”.  Look in the organic produce section for these labels.  In other words, buy both organic and local when possible.

And finally, don’t sweat it.  Food is supposed to be nourishing, creative, and fun.  Your reflection on your role in the food economy illustrates that you are a part of the American population who is a responsible consumer, in every sense of the word.

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