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?