Sometimes I balk at the price of organic food. I’m sure everyone that shops the organic aisle thinks, at some point, “Is paying $6.99 per pound of Brussels sprouts worth it when I can pay $2.99 for non-organic?”
Then I read stories like this one from Verena Radulovic at Grist about the people who work in the fields and live in the communities where our food comes from. Communities where taking a shower gives you a rash because of pesticide residue. Where 20% of the residents live in poverty, and yet have to spend 1/5 of their income on bottled water, in addition to the money they already pay for their contaminated drinking water.
I know there are so many people out there who would love to buy organic but can’t afford it. The painful reach of industrial agriculture extends far beyond the fields. The system is such that dirty food is subsidized, and organic producers have to raise their prices to make a living. (Note: I do think agriculture can be more sustainable on a large scale, and I don’t think all organic producers are the most sustainable – but in the case of pesticide residue, my allegiance happens to fall in with the organic growers).
Change is happening, slowly but surely more small farms are cropping up. Farmers’ markets are setting up shop in more towns. Entrepreneurs are finding ways of getting healthy food where people need it most.
But when I read stories like Radulovic’s, I wish it could happen just a little bit faster.