Organic produce sections are popping up in every grocery store nationwide. With their special labels and marked up prices, it almost seems like organic is just a marketing tactic to scare us into spending more money. But what truly is “organic?” And do you really need to be spending the extra money on organic produce?
What is Organic?
In order for produce to be labeled as “organic,” the farmer has to get accreditation from the USDA. This process is not only very rigorous, but also costly (hence the increased price at the supermarket). This is why most local farmers are not certified organic, even though they may practice the same methods as those that are certified.
- Be produced without genetic modification, “ionizing modifications, or sewage sledge”
- Be grown without prohibited or potentially harmful substance or chemicals
- Overseen by the USDA to ensure the first two qualification have been met
Should I Buy Organic?
While there are many benefits of purchasing organic produce, especially with the increasing evidence of how chemicals are adversely affecting our health (for more information, watch The Human Experiment), purchasing strictly organic can add up. So, if you can afford it, great! Go organic!
However, if you are on a budget, I recommend:
- Check both the organic and regular produce sections when you are shopping. Organic produce gets reduced just like regular produce and often at different times. You may find that one week organic carrots are cheaper than non-organic or organic grapes are the same price as regular, in which case go organic.
- No matter if you are buying organic or non-organic produce, always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them. This will help to remove any dirt, chemicals, or debris.
- Purchase the “Clean 15” non-organic and the “Dirty Dozen” organic. The “Clean 15” are produce that have peels that you do not eat, so they are more protected from chemicals. Therefore, buying them organic is not as pressing.