With the controversy surrounding organic agriculture, Prairie Farmer decided to ask the folks who vote for one or the other every day at the grocery store.
These consumer opinions highlight both sides of the debate. Note that pesticide residue is a top issue. Also, both moms are put feeding their family in a safe and nutritious manner at the top of their priority list.
A Mix of Conventional and Organic
Organic groceries are definitely more expensive than non-organic, but after learning that most organic produce, sundries, meat, poultry and fish don't have any more vitamins and minerals than conventionally raised/grown foods from the farmers we visited throughout our Field Moms tours, I've started to relax my shopping manifesto. A little.
While I still worry about the pesticides and residues left in and on fruits and vegetables, we still buy an inconsistent mix of organic and non-organic produce. However, the six gallons of milk our children go through per week are now non-organic - we only gave the children organic milk for at least 4 years - though both my husband and I agree that trusting national brands over private labels is a must.
The same goes for the meat, poultry and fish in our freezer. After learning more about the best cuts and colors to look for from farmers themselves, I feel much more knowledgeable about my choices regardless of whether or not they're organic. After all, organic farming doesn't mean farmers eliminate pesticides and antibiotics in what they grow and raise completely. That old-fashioned, vintage-tinged view of farming simply doesn't exist anymore. Additionally, marketing speak can sound very attractive. Things like "grass fed" and "free range" can really apply to all animals raised for consumption. It doesn't necessarily mean anything special.
In the end, my main concern is feeding my family as wholesomely as possible. For us, that means a lot of "slow food" - meals cooked at home with an emphasis on natural ingredients, and avoiding processed convenience items when we can.
Chicago-area mom Pilar Clark
Organic Only, Please
There are several reasons why I choose to purchase organic.
One is due to the kind of farming used for production; they are more environmentally friendly and supportive of wildlife. Animals are treated humanely and have access to open air and free range. I purchase organic milk because it is free from added hormones, such as RBGH and bovine growth hormones; and it is nice to have added shelf life because of the ultra-pasteurization.
My main purpose for eating organic is to ingest the least amount of harmful additives as possible, and I trust that if something is not completely free of hormones, steroids, preservatives, and pesticides, it is at least less so than that of the non-organic products. I also find that organic shelf brands have significantly less, if any, preservatives, fillers, or artificial colors and flavors. Additionally, they are typically packaged free from BPA.
My ultimate goal is to keep my family safe and provide them with the best nutrition possible.
St. Louis-area mom Sarah Estes