What if you knew the government and certain businesses were messing with your brain? Well, they are. As Ellen Ruppel Shell writes in her book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, governments and some big businesses know that most people get the same buzz from a good discount as they get from gambling. But as with gambling, the “house” always wins.
For every big-win story, there are thousands more who’ve lost. This discount technique comes into play in our food as well, as no government subsidies or handouts are given to organic farmers, putting the cost of paying for pricey certifications, inspections and high insurance plans solely on them. This is why the things you buy the most—such as milk and eggs—are dirt-cheap compared to their organic counterparts. Zap! That good deal just gave you a buzz that encourages you to resist organic.
So, allow me to attempt to rewire your brain a bit—or perhaps free it—with 10 reasons that organic is worth it!
- Organic farmers get no government subsidies or handouts. Whether you are liberal or conservative, that’s a good thing. Although, it does mean that your tax dollars are paying for all that cheap food.
- You will automatically become an environmentalist without having to make a donation or show up for a protest. Here’s a short list of things organic farmers help keep totally out of our soil, water, air and bodies: toxic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, sewage sludge, antibiotics and growth hormones. All of these are known to cause grave physical damage in people as well as bees, bats, frogs, and fish.
- You will be healthier. You can pay more now or pay later (in health care costs). Agricultural chemicals are known to cause diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, asthma, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, ADHD and perhaps even autism. And we’ve only scratched the surface in understanding what damage these toxins are doing to our health.
- You can feel good about your contribution to a better world. It’s kind of like making a charitable donation, but instead of it filtering through a middleman, your money directly helps an entire chain of good people, families, and the environment they affect. Your health, too.
- You are supporting families and businesses that are making the world better. I have seen this with my own eyes over and over again. Farm families that thought they would lose their farms because of the fluctuations of commodity milk prices switch to organic and not only save their farms, but also find that they are all healthier and happier as a result. And the companies that help them transition, like Organic Valley, are truly wonderful companies that do great things for their farmers, their customers, their employees, and the whole community.
- You will be helping to prevent climate change. Seriously! Organic soil holds much more carbon, uses much less fossil fuel resources—which aren’t just used in tractors but are in the toxic chemicals that are made from fossil fuels used in nonorganic farming practices—and sustains habitats for all the creatures that help keep our planet healthy.
- You will be helping to prevent droughts and floods. Research at the Rodale Institute and many other institutions have shown that organic soil is much more absorbent than chemically farmed soil. That means it holds more water during droughts and floods. Plants grown organically also have a much bigger and more resilient root system, so they can last longer in extreme weather.
- You will be doing your part to leave the world a better place than you found it. Really, what is the price of that? And all you have to do is go food shopping and eat yummy stuff and perhaps buy organic cotton clothing for your body and home (cotton is one of the most toxic crops on the planet).
- Karma Points: When you pay more for good things, other people can afford to pay you more. This is where the true economic brain rewiring happens. It might not seem like a direct link from one thing to another, but as Ellen Ruppell Shell shows in her book, everything is connected economically. Our obsession with cheap stuff actually shrinks all of our economies and pocketbooks and makes it much harder for employers to increase wages and spending. Try it. You’ll see it works. And at the very least, you will eat better in the process.
- And lastly, it just tastes better. You are getting better-quality food that nine times out of 10 does taste better. Just ask my kids. Here’s what my seven-year-old said when she was eating a salad out at a restaurant in Manhattan: “This doesn’t taste good—it doesn’t taste organic; organic is better!”
Ten times yes!
Just earlier this morning I was talking to a relative who said “Who’s to say that toxins aren’t in organic foods also?” I said that this could be true, knowing that plants take in nutrients with their roots, and they could be getting some toxins from rain water. I also said that I would rather buy organic foods with minute amounts of toxins, than buy conventional foods loaded (on purpose) with chemicals and additives that are not found in nature. If this is true, then I’d rather reduce my exposure to chemicals, than to continue purchasing and eating foods that purposely poison my body and mind. He surprised me by saying this because he have been eating mostly organic since the late 70’s, when it wasn’t popular.
I’m no economist, but I’d rather by organic and support the small farmers and farm families that are certified, and grow for the good. I will also support those farmers that cannot afford the certifications, but grow and produce food that they have reduced and/or eradicated the use of chemicals while growing and producing the. This money supports them and the co-ops which they are a part. I don’t mind paying a little extra to have some peace of mind, that what I put into my body, isn’t causing harm.
Also, I can immediately taste when there is something artificial in food, now that I have been eating organic foods for such a long time. Keep eating clean foods. It’s worth the extra money.
Good health is priceless, peace of mind, helping the earth, leaving some good things: air, water, land for our children….all priceless! Considering the good organic food does for us all, especially our future, really sounds like a bargain to me. And I feel better than before I started eating only organic, especially by cutting my allergies more than in half. Thank You Organic Farmers everywhere!!
I just read Alice Green’s comment and was struck by the thought that both my husband and I have seen our allergies diminish in the last few years, since we’ve been gradually increasing our percentage of organic food until now we are almost totally organic. Sadly I’ve not been able to persuade the rest of my family, who keep insisting they can’t afford to eat the way we do. That “cheap” thing does mess with your mind.
There is no substitute, and there is price for good health.
I am 66 and only recently have I become aware of the value of eating organic foods. My plan is to continue to educate myself, build our own compost, and plant our own organic garden!
I was having trouble digesting milk and thought at my age I might be slowly becoming lactose intollerant. I switched to a local organic brand and can now enjoy milk on my cereal again. I have my own vegetable garden now and will try canning for the first time this summer. Thank you, Maria and Organic Gardening magazine for your help and inspiration
Remember when, as children we could pick a tomato from the garden, wipe the dirt of and eat it? Remember the taste? remember the taste of wild blackberries or wild strawberries? Fresh corn, squash tomatoes and berries were everywhere when I was young. Rarely did you find that bitter dull taste of pesticides on your food. Variety is being bred out of the food supply. Everything has the same bland lack of flavor. wild berries that were once abundant and free to be foraged, are rarely seen. Many in the current and younger generations have no memory of these things. Organic is reversing what has been happening to our food supply since WWII. If you cant afford the price of organic, we need to fight back. Grow your own. Look for local framers and businesses that sell only local crops with no pesticides. There is a growing grass roots movement. Join it at what ever level you are able. Let’s take back our food supply!
Organic farms can most definately receive government subsidies/handouts.