Every generation seems to come to an age where they feel compelled to tell the younger generations stories that start with “When I was your age..”. Many of these stories come off condescending, so most “kids” tune them out instantly, myself included when I was young(er). But, sometimes, a story about a world we were not alive to experience is worth listening to. This is one of my “When I was your age” experiences that is the crux of my support for organic foods and hopefully won’t make too many eyes roll.
I lived on the outskirts of all three major US cities growing up – Chicago, NY, and LA. In the mid 60s my mother read a health food book and launched her family of nine into a health food eating plan. That included “organic” produce. No more fruit or veggies from the grocery store, only from the local farm stands. And no more produce that wasn’t in season. And, living in the burbs of Chicago where mashed potatoes and meat were king, she quickly became known as the town “health nut”. Yes, the town was that small.
Honestly, I had no clue if there was any difference at the time – I was kid in search of Oreos. I didn’t hate fruit and veggies; I just didn’t hunt them down. But I have an EXCELLENT food memory. I can remember the penetrating scent of fresh strawberries, the intense sweetness of watermelon – but not just sweet, a sweet watermelon flavor that was bright, juicy, and distinct. All the produce had a depth and intensity of flavor that is VERY difficult to find today. The produce was not labeled as organic, it was farmed locally and in small acreage - what is termed today as sustainable farming – rotating crops, etc.
Sadly, the existence of small farms was being wiped out by large commercial farming and since have nearly disappeared. But they are not gone. They are still around and due to the demand in both locally grown and organic/sustainable foods, they are even growing in number. And believe me, they are not growing in number due to any government policies or regulations or due to some sense of responsibility that Cargill or Monsanto feel, NOPE, its only, and I mean ONLY due to market demand. That means us and our shopping choices and dollars. We here in the US of A, we live in a market driven economy and culture. Organic will fade away unless we, as consumers continue to demand (purchase/shop) for it.
Is Organic more expensive? Yes, for now it is. As with any commodity or purchasable item the cost is based on demand, cost of making or creating said item, and what consumers are willing to pay for it. As demand goes up, although supply may waiver, it sets the stage for competition and innovation to meet that demand. This is exactly why I encourage buying organic, to continue to help set that stage. Not to mention, healthier livestock, healthier soil and
the reduction of chemicals like Round Up (which is illegal in Europe) pouring into our oceans due to runoff.