Moms: Is Organic Food Worth the Higher Price?

This week's moms talk asks reader about whether they buy organic products and whether the extra cost is worth it.

Moms Talk is a weekly feature on Hamilton-Wenham Patch that invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Hamilton and Wenham.

Each week moms in the two towns will all combine to take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and others who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about the best pre-schools, the best pediatricians, playgrounds and the thousands of issues that arise while raising children.

If you have a suggestion for a question in for this space in future weeks, please let us know.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with something that is on many parents’ minds.

This Week’s Question: "What's the deal with organic food? Organic food is almost always more expensive than non-organic food. Can organic carrots really be that much better for you than regular carrots? Is organic milk healthier? What are the benefits? Is the extra cost worth it to buy organic food?"

: Great question this week, Patch. I've made the commitment to buy organic celery. It's on the top of the list of the dirty dozen you "should" buy organic.

I stopped buying organic onions as they were too juice and made me cry.

Just yesterday on Martha Stewart Radio, they had a nutritionist speaking about how fresh is best, then frozen, then canned foods. The high temperatures used to can foods along with the long shelf life makes the vitamins degrade.

For me, it's more about fresh and local than organic. But we do have great local organic farm stands and CSAs, so you can have it all! The CSA is a mixed bag, as you get things you may not like to eat or you get too much of one thing and not enough of the other.

Most produce begins to lose it's vitamin quality the moment it's picked. So fresh is more nutritious. But I think the vitamins in a week old organic carrot are the same as a week old conventionally grown carrot.

: This is a subject I am passionate about.
I think the major complaint about organic foods is the cost. American's spend 12.5 percent of their budget on groceries while Europeans spend 25 percent. This says to me that Americans are choosing cheaper processed foods and forcing our agriculture to "create" foods at lowers costs. So, our culture is encouraging GMOs, pesticides and other methods to create faster, cheaper food which, I believe, is a detriment to the overall well being of the earth and its citizens.
Our family does its best to buy only organic because I believe it serves the greater good of society. Yes, it is more money, but when my husband and I talk about our annual donations to non-profits we do also talk about the way we support local farms and organic living as part of the way we donate to the earth.
I would recommend people watch some documentaries to help educate themselves on the food choices they are making. A couple of good ones I recommend are http://www.foodincmovie.com and The Future of Food.

Personally, we support and - two amazing local farms.

wayne pierson April 13, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Organic is way more important than local- but often times you don't have to seperate the two. Please don't forget the difference between organic and traditional is they spray CHEMICALS on traditionally grown produce. Yes, organic has more vitamins and nutrients in it which makes it more healthy than traditionally grown produce, but you know what it doesn't have? Pesticides, herbicides, poisons, and chemicals. Maybe the question should be is traditional produce really bad for you? Because the answer is YES.
OrganicTrade April 13, 2011 at 06:51 PM
It is important to note that organic products provide consumers with the choice to avoid toxic and persistent pesticides, GMOs, synthetic dyes, and other ingredients which have been linked to such health problems as ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, asthma and cancer. At the same time, mounting evidence shows that organic foods are rich in nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, and vitamin C, which are critical to maintaining good health. Additionally, organic reflects the true costs of food production. By contrast, when people buy non-organic products, there are hidden costs for which everyone will pay indirectly. These are called ag “externalities,” and they include damage to water sources, damage to soil resources, damage to wildlife and ecosystem biodiversity, and damage to human health from such things as exposure to pesticides. Thanks to the growth of private label products, farmers’ markets, manufacturers’ coupons, and customer loyalty programs, buying organic is easier and more affordable than ever. In fact, organic foods sometimes are comparably priced, or even lower, than conventional counterparts, and offer greater value, as illustrated by the price comparisons featured in the Organic Trade Association's Savvy Organic Shopper blog (http://www.organicitsworthit.org/blog). Organic. It's worth it.


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