Evidently there’s a study that was recently published that shows that organic foods are not more nutritionally valuable than foods grown by other methods. I haven’t seen the study, so if you’re researching this area and would like to give a ltitle background, be my guest. However, the idea that organic food is supposed to contain higher trace elements of nutrients we all need was new to me, as was the idea that I was supposed to be buying organic strictly to limit my impact on the environment.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m aware of the environmental impact of the manufacturing process and runoff implications of commercial pesticides and fertilizers. I do think we should try and limit that impact. But even if we were to stop using both immediately (an objective that isn’t currently realistic), some of the damage has been done. There are already chemicals in our water supply that we don’t really want there, and I’m not sure how much impact a cease and desist would have. But that’s never been the point of organic foods to me.
The point, in fact, is that I’d prefer to have as few of those commercial fertilizers and pesticides in my own body as possible. Sure, I don’t really relish the idea of eating ‘night soil’ (to put it politely). But there is a difference between eating something covered in waste products that, as far as I know, didn’t poison the living thing they passed through and eating something covered in poisons or chemical growth-promoters. And that’s been the point of organics for me. Sure, you may find a worm or two in your apple, but it seems better to find a live worm than to notice the half-bite a worm took out before it keeled over.
There may be other arguements as far as taste, buying locally, and helping those who farm with the most traditional methods of all, but really, I would only be motivated to buy organic out of pure self-interest. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to wash the dirt off my lettuce, but there are other things that are not so easy to wash off.