Organic, Local Or Sustainable? What Is Right To Eat@ Reward Me

What’s a green girl to do?

Organic, local, fair-trade, sustainable – how do you navigate the ethical eating options?


Should you buy the locally grown baby marrows, their uniform size betraying the fact that they aren’t organic or should you pick the ones next to them carrying a sticker practically shouting “I’m organic! Buy me and everything will be healthy and green?” Not an easy decision. And almost a decade after “organic” shed its muesli-muncher image and went mainstream, things are more confusing than ever.

The catch in the catch phrase
The minute something becomes a neat catch phrase, there’s the risk that what it actually stands for gets lost in the hype. Why buy “organic” for organic’s sake.  Some local farmers are organic in everything but name, so before you decide to pass them up, question them on how they deal with fertility, pests etc.…

Are we the problem?
If we’re intent on blueberries, baby tomatoes, or a leg of lamb most of us will buy them without a thought as to whether they’re in season. The way we shop and eat is inextricably linked to the kind of agriculture and food system we have. The reason organic food producers industrialised was so they could meet the expectations of the supermarket shopper or the industrial eater. The industrial eater has come to expect strawberries 12 months of the year.

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The conclusion?
Shifting the kind of eaters we’ve become appears to be the logical first step to changing the system. Going to a market or farm with a set idea of what you’re going to buy is pointless: heavy rains might have destroyed that week’s lettuce crop, or a storm might have prevented the fishing boats from heading to sea.

It’s your food, so you can be picky about it and you can be picky about what’s important to you. Decide whether the social, environmental or economic factors matter most to you, and then educate yourself on what to eat and how to shop to best serve that cause. The most important thing is developing a curiosity for how things work. Once you’re engaged with your food you’ll find these decisions easier.

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