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Janine from CO
It is much more than packaging. This was USDA's definition of "Organic" effective since October 21, 2002. All farms and products claiming to be organic needed to be guaranteed by a USDA-approved independent agency to meet the following guidelines:
There are variations in labeling claims including "100% organic" (all organic ingredients), "organic" (at least 95% organic ingredients), and "made with organic ingredients" (70% organic ingredients).
Unfortunately, as I write this, congress passed a congressional rider that weakens these standards by allowing certain synthetic food additives to be added to organic products without notifying the consumer.
Organic food costs more for several reasons:
Since your friend already buys organic, consider pitching in to buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. You pay a fee at the beginning of the season and in return, you receive weekly boxes of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers (whatever is in season). Another option is to join a local food co-op, where members get a discount on purchases (volunteer and get more).
I've been wanting to feed my family more organic fruits and vegetables but I always get sticker shock when I am in the supermarket. I decided to sign up for organic delivery with a local company. This takes the decision out of my hands. I am getting a box of produce every two weeks to ease into it.
My area gets deliveries on Wednesday and I was anxiously waiting for the first box all afternoon, which came just before dinnertime. My kids were fascinated by the "strange" vegetables and thrilled with the fruit selection. I had to get online to figure out what to do with the turnip but most of the veggies are ones I regularly buy anyhow. I like the opportunity to try different veggies and get out of my rut. I'll probably have to buy some produce at the store from time to time but I'm going to try to plan meals around what I get in the box.
Here's what my box contained:
Jess in Portland, OR
Organic foods are often the better choice when purchasing food, especially produce. Here are some helpful FAQ's about organic food.
Some produce has more pesticides than others. Where organic isn't always available, it is good to know which produce is safest. This is a page about how to prioritize organic produce purchases.