The burning question on my mind: Local or Organic?

Now that I live in Dallas and don't have 5 farmer's markets every day with the most beautiful organic local produce available, I'm left with a conundrum. Do I buy the local produce from Whole Foods that is conventional, or do I buy the organic produce that has been shipped in?

I posed this question to my Facebook fans and got some interesting feedback. More votes were for organic, but what if it's not in your budget to buy organic or it's not available? I usually tell my clients/students that if you are on a budget than make sure that the produce from the Dirty Dozen list is organic and not worry so much about the rest. 

But for those of us that can afford it and have access to organic produce, what do you choose? I started buying local produce but after some great comments left on my fan page I'm back on the organic train.

My friend Vanessa at The Green Girl Next Door blog says "No doubt ORGANIC first (if you can't have both). Organic is better for your health, better for the health of the farm workers, & better for the health of the planet. If it comes from a far distance you of course have the downside of transportation pollution. But I'd take that over pesticides and crap killing animal life, plant life, soil life and the workers."

My friend Alex who knows just about everything and always brings up sort of weird points that you would NEVER think of  says "Most carbon emissions from transportation, while not ideal, can eventually be remediated, but synthetic chemicals can last forever. Also, one has to ask where did the pesticides come from – where the pesticides local? If the pesticides have to be trucked in from far away, why not make the same trip with organic food instead? It's the same carbon footprint with net benefit being no synthetic chemicals in the environment. Again, organic, always."

Would you have ever thought to consider the fact that the actual pesticides are having to be shipped in from somewhere negating the benefits of choosing local over organic?!?? I love my friend Alex. Not to mention all the harm pesticides are doing to our bodies, the water system, to the health of the farmer's and other farms nearby those crops, and the destruction of land and animal life. 

When making our food choices we have to think about the GLOBAL impact. There's a trickle down effect and it took many hands, machines, and people to get that food to your plate. How did all those actions and reactions affect the food? This kind of stuff blows my mind sometimes! Our grocery stores and economy have made it so easy to buy cheap goods with little consideration to all the effects. 

Just wanted to put that out there for everyone to think about.

SO do you choose organic or local if you can't have both? Why is it important to you to buy local and/or organic?

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  1. This is the herbivore's dilemma… local vs. organic. I, too, have been leaning towards the organic side, but what if it's from China?!!?  For a long time I was buying organic frozen broccoli from Costco, then noticed the small print saying "product of China".  So in that case, is organic really better than local?  It just doesn't feel like it is.  (But maybe I'm wrong.)

    1. I've done the same thing Angie, now I always look and never buy any food from China or any other country except USA.  I buy fresh organic veggies and fruit  at my local Kroger. I believe it's locally grown as well? Kroger is slowly bring in their brand of organics everywhere from fresh, canned, frozen(blueberies & mixed berries) and even some teas! I feel somewhat safe with Kroger being a large corp. that they're really organic and not just slapping that label on things that aren't.  (At least I hope so!)

  2. Hi Christy!  This may be off topic, but seeing how you are now in-camped in Big D, have you gone to Kalachandji's for their Sunday Feast yet?  7:30PM – Free – Vegetarian – Vegan Friendly – 5430 Gurley Ave, Dallas 75223   If you have, did you like it? My good, good friend Nityananda Chandra is in charge there and his wife and kids are soooo sweet and nice. PS> Hope your dad is doing well. – David

  3. I vote local.  Who knows what's going on at the supposedly organic farm.  Let me tell you, Whole Foods is no pro at labeling or keeping produce organized.  Grow your own first, 2nd buy from a local farm you can track down if everyone gets ecoli, 3rd buy organic USA, 4th buy USA continent conventional food, 5th buy organic canada/centeral/south america food.  avoid food from china or japan.

  4. I always try to find something that is local and organic, but as you mentioned, that is not always possible. I'd go for organic, reasoning on a simple level, it's healthier for yourself… I think it's a really hard decision to make…

  5. I buy Organic as much as possible. Of course if it says 'Product of China' like Whole Foods Frozen Spinach, I will buy it somewhere else. But I buy Organic mostly to avoid GMO's which cause damage to the body.

    BTW, I complained to Whole Foods about the spinach and hopefully they changed or will change.

  6. The dirty dozen is a great tool…. if those happen to be the top foods you eat. Otherwise, it's a pretty useless tool. The flaw in the dirty dozen is that it assumes that all vegetable and fruit consumption are similar. Which, for most families, is not the case. Sure, you may enjoy a mango or two during the summer but not on a normal basis. If you ate the same amount of celery and potatoes than the dirty dozen would be a great tool, as you would get more pesticides from eating the celery since it is a #1 offender. But if you ate celery once or twice a year and 20lbs of potatoes a year (it's the #1 vegetable in a Standard American Diet), than you are getting way more pesticide exposure from the potatoes than the celery. My advice- decide what foods you eat the MOST of. then choose those foods organic, when possible. 

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