August 17, 2008

Is every choice either/or?

I don't think every choice has a perfect answer, and I doubt that every choice is either/or.
I think that why you make your choices, or avoid them, leads you to your best answer of the moment.
For example, let's say a person, Sam, is standing in the grocery and that person has organic agriculture as an ideal. But, Sam has recently started reading about food miles.
So Sam is standing in a less than perfect suburban grocery store looking at organic strawberries from six states away and conventional strawberries from within a 200-mile radius.
Prices are similar, freshness appears similar.
What does Sam do? Does she select the organic that used a good amount of gasoline to arrive, or the more local crop grown with fertilizers and pesticides?
Is there another option?
I say there is. Unless Sam has to have strawberries for something, look at what else is on offer. Organic, in-state peaches? Local raspberries?
Sam picks up the local conventionally-grown berries and drops them in her basket.
She believes that cutting down on the transportation is more important than the cropland use.

Personally, I'd look for the most local fruit available, allowing for my undeveloped appreciation of most melons.
Berries rule, but peaches are blessings.

The local farmers market has a particular vendor who is inclined to be less than truthful about his products.
He's also got better prices.
Do I boycott him for passing Washington cherries off as Western Slope Colorado cherries, or do I just pay a lot of attention?
Depends. Is the West Slope fruit grower at the market that week? Are his prices in line with the questionable vendor?
If so, Forte Farms will get my hard earned money.
If not, well, I value the farmers market concert over the grocery where Sam is picking over berries. I might pay more at Forte (and I plan to buy a box of frozen cherries at the end of season). I might skip cherries if it is not the end of season.
But, I might decide that week that any fresh fruit is better than none, and the peaches are not in yet.
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit? --Woody Guthrie

1 comment:

Brightonwoman said...

I agree, local comes before organic.
I would also try to find a different fruit...but if I HAD to get the strawberries, I'd choose local.

A friend of mine is working in horticulture, and she has some thought-provoking arguments against organic farming (on the large scale). I garden without chemicals in my own backyard, but when it comes to purchases...well I'd rather buy from a local little guy--organic or not--than buy from anybody big.