Why Organic May or May Not Be the Answer


While my dad likes to cook, he likes to make things easy on himself. For instance, he’ll take one night and make it a total marathon in the kitchen so he doesn’t have to cook every night the rest for of the week. Totally normal. I get that. I do it too. Everyone does. It makes sense.

But then there’s the pre-chopped, double vacuum sealed, organic garlic from China.

Organic is good, right? We want to ingest food that has not been grown with chemicals. It’s the right thing. It’s better for our body. It’s better for our planet. And usually we can buy this type of food from a local source. But then there’s the organic from half way around the world.

My dad is starting to climb that local food hill and is well into Omnivore’s Dilemma, but still cares more about not having to peel garlic cloves. So he buys garlic cloves that have been peeled, packed in a plastic wrap in groups of four, then packaged in a larger plastic bag. A lot of plastic. A lot of waste. But it’s still organic. Yet it’s been shipped from China. But it’s still organic.

What the fuck are we supposed to do?

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  • cbr April 27, 2010  


  • Nick April 27, 2010  

    I’d be seriously willing to bet that I could peel and dice a normal clove of garlic before someone could get one out of those double sealed contraptions and dice it.

  • erica April 27, 2010  

    this is also my problem with “raw” diets… they require/espouse so many imported organic specialty items it’s just unreal.

    thank goodness i find garlic chopping therapeutic.

  • Alex April 27, 2010  

    As a former environmental studies major, I’m going to just make the point that the measurable health benefits of organic food are as of yet somewhat controversial (though I probably err on the side of why-not-if-it-might-be-so), whereas the environmental benefits are really the easier sell – eating organic promotes biodiversity, helps decrease runoff that harms our rivers and forests, and is better for the soil, so promotes sustainable farming.

    So buying organic garlic packed in plastic and flown halfway around the world is at best neutral and at worst (and probably more likely) a net negative for our friend the Earth.

    Now, as far as supporting that organic farmer in China, that’s a whole other head of garlic.

  • MNLisaB May 1, 2010  

    I would steer clear away from ANYTHING that comes from China, especially foods or anything that will come in contact with skin or digestive system. That goes double for pets as well, not the greatest quality control there.

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