I’ve been seeing articles here and there of late about organic food and whether going organic is worth it or not.
In an ideal world, of course eating organic would likely be better in the long run. The problem for most people – myself included – is that going organic is an expensive proposition. Very expensive. Case in point: this afternoon, my mom and I headed over to Native Sun, a certified organic market here in town (soon to be two markets, as they have built a new market out toward Costco, if you’re familiar with the area). This particular store is quite busy. It’s also quite expensive: boneless, skinless chicken breasts run a whopping 5.69/pound. The fruits and vegetables are likewise quite costly, sometimes running three times the price in a regular grocery like Publix, and five to six times the price you’d pay at the farmer’s market. Naturally, the organic items at Publix are also more expensive than their non-certified counterparts.
Now, in and of itself, this is not a bad thing. After all, they have to make their money after paying whoever provides these goods. However, because the cost per unit is so much higher, it prices a lot of people out of the market. The question then becomes not if organic is worth it – it is – but how to better bring organic items to the end user without creating the need for them to take a second mortgage on their house to afford it.
We then come to a double-edged sword. Wal-Mart is going organic, sort of: they’ll be carrying some organics, just as Target does now to a small extent. Not everyone is pleased about Wal-Mat’s foray into the field (so to speak), because of the effect Wal-Mart has on markets. I hope never to have to step foot into a Wal-Mart again in my lifetime, so I know I will not be buying whatever they’re selling. But, if it helps people who could otherwise not afford it to buy at least some of their food organic, can it be all bad? It can be partially bad, or even mostly bad for some people, especially for the producers, but does the end user, the consumer, ever stop to think about that?
It’s a conundrum that is not easily solved, I’m afraid. For me, while most things at Native Sun are things I will skip, they do have a good selection of bulk flours, sugars, salts, beans, and nuts that are organic and reasonably priced (because they are not packaged), and these are things that I can readily use in the food I create for others. And I hope to use those things soon, as I work out my schedule issues.