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I never understood the point of organic food. You can walk into a grocery store and you think, alright, it is now 2018, and eating healthy is supposed to be on the rise. That sh*t is good for you, so make use of it! (Not that it hasn’t ever been good for you, but it is an important factor that helps the environment and all that stuff, you know.) My own father had a phase he was going through at one point where he insisted my mother only buy organic vegetables because he would refuse to eat anything else, especially when he was preparing for a marathon because: healthy. And just like a pair of new shoes, you’re going to want to pay a little bit more to get more life out of them.
But the question therein lies here: does your produce taste any different? Are there really any additional values of organic produce that affect the human body in a significant way? What is the difference, and where do any of those presumed health factors play into living a long life?
A 2015 Consumer Reports study states that organic produce is priced an average of 47 percent higher than their counterparts, a staggering statistic that, considering some organic produce can be less expensive in various supermarkets, the difference is not common enough to garner much realistic attention. Following this study is an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that states that organic food often includes a price ‘premium’ of 29-32 percent, when a five to seven percent premium is needed to break even. Despite the fact that organic farmers might spend more in labor due to their hands-on methods of keeping their produce clean, I’m fairly certain that these costs are all offset by the prices non-organic farmers use for pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. Therefore, the payout is not as far off as we initially believed. It almost feels as though people are paying for the luxury of the word "organic" rather than for the benefits the fruit is believed to bring, as if it has suddenly become a label instead of a lifestyle. A way to "follow the trend" on its rise.
And if the trend is encouraging a "save the planet" t-shirt and "environmentally friendly" button with every purchase, what about organic produce and their low-footprint impact on the environment? Pesticides and fertilizer certainly do their own damage, but that doesn’t mean that organic farmers necessarily skip out on these important requirements. Not only can some pesticides have a worse effect on the environment, a study published in Agriculture and Human Values states that organic farming is not as sustainable as it could be, producing more greenhouse gases than their conventional counterpart due to the involvement of larger corporations such as Walmart and their big-time purchases of emission-based machinery. Big names like Walmart and their contributions towards the growth of the organic produce industry have been crucial, making the lives of the everyday shopper just that much easier to get their hands on organic produce.
But science doesn’t lie, and what science says about the nutritional value of organic produce is that there really is no nutrient difference in organic versus conventional. A study done in 2009 shares that the differences were so small that they were practically indistinguishable and made little to no difference. Taste-wise, this can vary just as much as any produce will: The School of Nutrition and Fitness states that some people can taste the difference, but that it is subjective and, for the most part, a personal consideration. The take-away here: the trick to more nutrients is as simple as eat more fruits and veggies, whether they are organic or not.
The reality of my organic produce opinion is this: the novelty of a vegetable that has undergone "natural light" and "clean pesticides" are beginning to feel like a hoax designed to hike up the price of food while charging you an extra sixty cents for practically no additional nutritional value. If you truly want to understand the extent of your fruits and veggies and how far they can go in terms of providing you with the utmost health and wellness, make the effort to visit your local farmers' market or produce stands, as the prices are usually just as competitive with the bigger supermarkets. Whatever questions you might have regarding your produce can be answered by someone who has most likely had their hand in the transport and care of your produce. Whether they carry organic or non-organic produce, this method is sure to give back to the environment and society in a more forgiving way.