Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The big question: Organic or Local?

Have you ever found yourself standing in the middle of a supermarket holding a bag of organic spuds from Israel in one hand and non-organic British spuds in the other? One has been doused in chemicals which could cause environmental damage for decades, the other has travelled 2,187 miles on its way to your plate. You look at one, then the other, desperately trying to decide which is the lesser of the two evils.

This is one of the most difficult dilemmas for the eco-lifer.

The Observer ran a good article on the why's and wherefore's of the organic food market this Sunday so I won't repeat them here.

The simplistic answer is go local AND organic. Organic box schemes abound around the country, specialist stores can be found in most cities and you can grow some yourself.

Beyond this, my rules are a bit arbitrary. If I'm in an organic store I buy anything I fancy as they tend to be better at local sourcing and don't transport stuff around the country like big stores. If I'm in a normal shop or (cough) supermarket I go local, mainly because climate change is the big destroyer of the moment.

If you have different views, post 'em in the comments.


At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Kaz said...

I think this is also a question of whether or not we want to support the globalisation of the food industry. As far as I understand the main reason a lot of organic produce comes from overseas is that in many countries agriculture uses fewer pesticides etc not for eco-green reasons but for economic reasons ...if (and it's a big if!)we could solve the transport problem is it not good to support farming communities in countries which are less well-off than our own?

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