Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What to eat organic

Earlier this month I provided reasons we should all buy organic when possible. Since then, several people have asked me if there are certain foods that should be highlighted as especially important. Below is a partial list of fruits and vegetables that should be purchased as organic due to the high level of pesticides used in their cultivation and pesticide residue remaining on the fruit or vegetable when ready for purchase. The model used by the government to quantify "safe" levels of pesticide use for conventional farming is based on a 154 pound male. It should be noted that due to their small size in relation to how much food they eat and the developmental stages of their organ, endocrine and nervous systems, children are at particular risk to pesticide exposure from their food.
Apples-Rank #8 as most contaminated. Multiple pesticides are used. A favorite food of children.
Apricots-Rank #9 as most contaminated. All stone fruits are likely to contain pesticide residue.
Basil-A leafy green grown close to the ground.
Bell Peppers (all colors)-Bell peppers rank #2 as the most contaminated fruit/veg
Carrots-they are so good at absorbing heavy metals from soil they are often grown as a throw away crop to rid a field of lead or arsenic contamination.
Cantaloupe (Mexico)-Ranks #6. Best to buy domestic or local.
Celery-Ranks #7 as most contaminated fruit/veg
Cherries (USA)-Rank #4. They are sprayed 8-10 times during the growth cycle.
Collard Greens-Leafy greens that grow close to the ground have high pesticide residuals.
Cucumbers-Rank #12.
Figs- due to their thin skins and the amount they are sprayed, figs are likely to contain high residuals.
Grapes (Chile)-Rank #11.Grapes are often fed to children.
Green Beans-Rank # 10.
Kale-A leafy green vegetable that is grown close to the ground.
Lemons-Most residue is found on the peel.
Lettuce-A leafy green grown close to the ground
Limes- Most residue is found on the peel.
Mint-A highly toxic organophosphate malaithon is used as a pesticide.
Napa Cabbage-Sprayed several times during its growth cycle and highly likely to contain residue.
Oranges-Again the peel will contain most of the residue.
Parsley-A leafy green grown close to the ground and highly sprayed.
Peaches-Most likely to contain multiple pesticides residue
Potatoes-Conventionally grown Russets are highly likely to contain multiple pesticides.Choose organic or another variety.
Pumpkins-If used for eating
Raspberries-Always buy organic raspberries.
Salad Greens
Spinach-Ranks #3 as most contaminated.
Strawberries-Rank #1 as most contaminated and often fed to children. ALWAYS buy organic.
Swiss Chard-A leafy green grown close to the ground.
Winter Squash-nonorganic is acceptable if you don't eat the skin.

Burke, Cindy, To Buy or Not To Buy Organic, Marlowe and Company, New York, 2007.
Natural Chef Handbook, Bauman College, 2007.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Friday's at the Farm

Another documentary was suggested to me by my good friend (thanks Lucia!) regarding food. If you haven't joined a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this might help convince you. There are several in the San Diego area that provide dropoffs to your home or a convenient location. For more information check out the links listed on my page or go to the Slow Food website to find one near you. Please look for the following movie Fridays at the Farm: http://www.coyopa.com/films.html


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why Organic?

Organic farmers rely on natural pest control, nurtured and maintained rich soils, complimentary plant grouping, lunar cycles, etc. Below is a list of why we as shoppers, eaters and earth dwellers should buy from and support organic farms/farming.

1. IT TASTES BETTER!!!! Try it, you will see a difference.

2. Organic Farming Practices and Products are Sustainable. Sustainable farming means to produce food indefinitely without irreversible damage to the ecosystem.

3. Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate-Many pesticides have been linked to cancer and other diseases. These chemicals were approved before much research was done to prove the ill effects on health.

4. Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy Planet-Eliminating the use of herbicides, pesticides, un-organic fertilizers, protects the microbiotic activity of the soil. The plant is able to produce and retain all of its complex components with no toxic residue, yielding a more nutrient rich food.

5. Protect Farm Workers-The use of toxic pesticides threatens the health of farm workers. A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that farmers exposed to herbicides were 6 times as likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non farmers.

7.Protect Water Quality-The EPA estimates pesticides contaminate the groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the population.

8. Save Energy- Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry and more energy is used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to cultivate crops. Organic farming relies on labor intensive practices which help stimulates local economies. Initially it can mean higher prices, but the long term cost of health effects caused by synthetic output and pollution will soon outweigh this initial cost. Buying from local growers (within 100 miles) will stimulate the local economy and cut down on petroleum used for transportation of food.

9. Support a True Economy- Conventional food prices do not reflect hidden costs born by taxpayers including $74 billion in federal subsidies in 1988. Other hidden costs include regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and cleanup, environmental damage and cost to the health care system.

10. Help Small Farmers, Protect Organic Farming Practices, Support Your Local Economy.