Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Conventional versus Organic

There is a decent article in the Chicago Tribune today about the differences between conventional and organic.  Ill have more to say about it but I thought that this point was the most salient in the article:

Cotton and coffee are two of the most pesticide-intensive crops in the world. Pesticide residues have been detected in the cottonseed hull, a secondary crop sold as a food commodity. It’s estimated that as much as 65 percent of cotton production ends up in our food chain, whether directly through food or indirectly through the milk or meat of animals, according to a report by the Environmental Justice Foundation. Conventional coffee production also has contributed to the deforestation of the world’s rainforests.

The bottom line: Pesticide residues are generally removed during the processing but the chemicals can have a huge impact on the local land, biodiversity and the health of the workers involved. Though buying organic can help preserve environmental health and support farmers who use ecological methods, “it’s more important to focus on the circumstances of growers and farms versus the product itself,” said food writer Corby Kummer, the author of “The Joy of Coffee.”

Cotton and Coffee.  Hmm...I do enjoy a good cup of coffee, but I will definitely be looking for ONLY organic and free trade coffees from now on.  And how do we rectify our love for cotton?  Organic cottons only?  Synthetic fibers made from fossil fuels?  I mean, no one wants to see me naked, not without committment papers anyway.


7 comments:

Mocabee Mills said...

wool is the answer. It can be grown in the roughest strongest rug variety, or baby fine and soft. (Just depends on the breed of sheep or goats) Also lamb/mutton is a good food source.

Chef Andrew Little said...

check out Counter Culture coffee.....REALLY good stuff.

http://www.counterculturecoffee.com/

Michael@greenakeys.com said...

Similarly, if you want to find the highest quality loose leaf teas, I suggest checking out http://redblossomtea.com Peter Luong is the son of the owner, I think he went to either Stanford or Berkeley and has a tech degree. Nice guy. Excellent quality teas, and even with shipping to the East Coast, you cant beat their prices. They hand select all the teas they bring back from China and Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Top notch.

Toni aka irishlas said...

Thanks for the lead for tea..

I think that growing/buying organic is similar to most things in life - weigh the pros and cons and use common sense. Just a small example - let's say you go to the store to buy organic berries, but, because of where they are grown, the carbon footprint is so large it doesn't make sense to buy them. I'm not saying go buy conventional berries either. Just weigh the options. Me, I wouldn't buy them just because they are out of season. I'd wait for the rewards of being able to get them locally.
Just my thoughts..

Michael@greenakeys.com said...

Meh. Fossil fuel carbon footprints are all a big smokescreen. I mean, we are all guilty of using plastic forks and spoons and throwing them away rather than washing some nice metal ones. Hell, we could be using chopsticks over and over again. Bamboo chopsticks.

We feel good because we get in our car and drive 12 miles to a farm to pick up a quart of berries? And thats less of a use of carbon than the delivery truck taking an entire farm's worth of berries to a distribution point? Its all relative.

The carbon footprint thing is in some ways a convenient tool for the environmentally friendly folks to put everyone else down. And Im a lefty liberal! We like to pontificate over our free trade organic coffees that had to come from Cameroon on our laptops that are full of poisoning heavy metals and acids while wearing the latest and greatest synthetic fibers from the local camping store that were made in Malaysia in a sweatshop. Its all an exercise in making ourselves feel superior.

Sorry. Im just in a lousy mood over these morons threatening violence all across the country. Not really looking forward to the summer. It could be a bad one.

Toni aka irishlas said...

I agree with you. I guess what I am trying to say is just be aware of what you are buying, how it's grown, it's impact on the enviornment and the people who grow it.
I'm not a purist, that's for sure, but, I am trying to be a better consumer.
As far as the morons are concerned - I could go on forever, but, all I can say, don't let them ruin your mood. Besides, you may wind up on a map with a sightglass marking where you live ;-)

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