NewsMonday 21st August 2017
I had an interesting (and frustrating) conversation with the owner of a grocery store earlier this week that has led me to write this heart felt blog post on why I am so passionate about supporting organic farming.
The person in question always tries to kindly encourage me to purchase his ‘conventional’ fruit and vegetables as it’s so much cheaper, to which I kindly respond that ‘there is nothing conventional about spraying toxic chemicals onto your food, and indeed it is the organic produce that’s by definition conventional’. (Conventional, adjective; traditional and ordinary)
The conversation evolved into how we think the future of farming will look like; I was hearing that organic farming is not sustainable, it is not affordable, not realistic and within 10 years there will be no organic farming as corporations are taking over and the demand isn’t there etc. It wasn’t until this moment that I realised just how passionate I am about what I do and how I live. I happen to think the complete opposite; organic farming to me, HAS to be the future. I am an enthusiastic optimist on this, I see big changes around me and the more I learn about the health of the soil, the food and our bodies, the stronger my opinions become. I left the shop with a lot of adrenaline, my mind racing as to what it was I had just heard, feeling vulnerable, naïve and confused that people don’t see what I see.
Throughout the day I had time to reflect, I woke up to the idea that I might live in an (eco-friendly) bubble and that there might be a bigger battle ahead of me than I realised. From the shop keepers point of view, I do sympathise that it is a gamble for him to order in an abundance of organic food, with the fear that people might view this as too expensive and opt for the cheaper ‘conventional’ produce, resulting in food waste and financial waste. So the problem then lies in the customers hands, as consumers we are the people at the bottom of the corporate triangle, collectively our voices can be the strong foundations that can positively change the future of farming. The two barriers in our way are education and marketing.
Marketing needs to be held accountable for how they package, advertise and sell their food, deliberately manipulating their customers with buzz words such as ‘local’ and ‘natural’. Then in an ideal world we will see an organic apple being simply labeled ‘apple’ whilst the pesticide-laden produce bears the burden of adjectives with a label such as ‘apple containing Glyphosate, Atrazine, Chlorpyrifos, Metolachlor and Metam sodium’.
But we wont reach this point without education! We need to take it upon ourselves to know the facts. Most people will agree that organic is healthier but this is often followed by the belief that it is unattainable. When in actual fact, even with our growing population, we can survive (and thrive) with organic farming. I am sat in a coffee shop as I write this and my heart is racing and tears keep coming to my eyes because it is such an upsetting thought that we have to fight for our right for healthy soil, water and food. What does it matter if some people don’t support organic? I can just carry on buying my own organic food, right? Well unfortunately everything is connected on this planet and chemical run off from one ‘conventional’ field will sooner or later end up in our water systems, land and air. So if we were being brutally honest, our land is already contaminated and jeopardises the crops of all the passionate organic farmers out there. I could keep writing and writing but I am not an expert in this field, I am just an informed parent, wanting to protect my child and her environment. I will leave it in your hands now to soak up the knowledge out there and pass it on. There are so many groundbreaking documentaries (I’ve attached a list of some to get you going) so grab your (organic) popcorn and gather the family together to educate and entertain yourself. You will no doubt be left shaken and eager for change.
Access to organic food is a human right, not a privilege. Unfortunately it does cost more to buy organic but the true cost is in your health if you don’t. Not to forget that the land can provide bountiful crops each year for free, as our dear friend Rob Greenfield says ‘grow food, not lawns’. Lets value our land, value our health and grow food as nature intended, organically.
Documentaries (in no particular order)
• Seed: The Untold Story
• OMG GMO
• Food INC
• Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution
• The Real Dirt On Farmer John