05 July 2014

Local versus Organic

A side-bar (actually, at the bottom of page) in the August, 2014, issue of Outside magazine offers a nice (though gender biased) heuristic for weighing the value of an oft-asked question: Which is better, local or organic?

It also addresses a consideration often overlooked - the time and expense of actual organic certification - that can be a practical and prohibitive barrier for many small producers.

As featured on page 24 [with my own bracketed additions]:

"In terms of nutrient value, fresh almost always trumps organic, which is why local is usually better. But a local farmer could be spraying his crops with every chemical in the book. Don't stress out about which chemicals to avoid. Find a farmer you can trust and ask if the produce is certified organic. If he [or she] says yes but his [or her] stand isn't labeled, be skeptical. If he [or she] says no but is eager to talk about how he [or she] grows [the] crops, that's probably the best indicator. The certification process is time consuming and expensive, and many local vendors skip it."