No pesticides? Healthier land management? Small farmers thriving? Biodiversity? Organic eating sounds great, until you get to the market and see just how much organic food can cost over its conventionally grown cousins. And while the gap between the price of organically grown foods and conventionally grown foods is narrowing, sometimes organics just aren’t available.
So why making eating organically a priority? Easy! You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by as much as 80% by avoiding just the most contaminated foods at the market. Even if you can’t find your favorite fruits and veggies in organic form or simply can’t afford the extra cost, it pays to opt for pesticide-free choices when you’re talking about produce with thin skins, produce that is prone to insect damage so blasted with multiple pesticides, and even produce that can absorb pesticides through the soil (ewwww).
The compromise:* Go organic when it matters most. Here’s a list of 12 foods that you should buy organic whenever possible to promote your health and the health of the world around you:
5. Imported Grapes
10. Bell Peppers
Want to know more? One of my favorite books on the subject is To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food by food journalist and former chef Cindy Burke. It’s a short book – nothing heavy – that still packs a punch in the information department. Burke doesn’t just tell you what to buy; she gives you the dirt on what the organic label means these days, explains why pesticides and fungisides are the yuck, and tells you just why we should all be buying this instead of that.
*Remember, going green should always be about compromise. If you’re a committed eco warrior wearing a hemp shirt you grew and wove yourself on your off-the-grid farm, sweet. The rest of us will be over here, taking it slow, balancing the need to, for example, get to work or afford food with our desire to make the world a better place.