Organic Food: Healthier for You and the Planet
Criticism of buying organic food
The biggest criticism of organic food, though, is the price premium. According to the Journal of Food Science, organic products typically cost 10 to 40% more than similar, conventionally-produced products. Prices tend to be higher because organic produce is produced on a smaller scale, and may need to be milled or processed separately; some of the price premium is likely to decrease as organic produce continues to scale up. Organic foods also tend to include more of the environmental costs that conventional agriculture tends to externalize. So, you're paying more for what's not in your food (pesticides, hormones, etc.) and you're paying more of the actual cost of food production, because things like pesticides aren't being passed along to the environment where friendly fuzzy bunnies and clear-running spring water pay for them.
Read more about organic food
For more information on organics, see How Organic Food Works.
Local Harvest has more info on the different "shades" of organic you're likely to find at your local farmer's markets, while the USDA's National Organic Program and Alternative Farming Information Center will provide all the facts and definitions for organics (and give you some idea of the government's role in all of this).
More information about organic food in TreeHugger
Here at TreeHugger, we've written a lot about organics; we think organic milk is healthier, know that organics make the supply chain healthier, like to support new organic farms, take note when Wal-Mart and Safeway start incorporating organics, and believe that organic ketchup helps prevent cancer -- really! Read more in our How to Green Your Meals guide, or just type "organic" into our search engine and go nuts!
The Green Basics series of posts appears on Thursdays here at TreeHugger; we're writing them to provide basic information about important ideas, materials and technologies for new greenies, or for those who just need a quick refresher.