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local or organic?

I was wondering what is better to eat, local or organic fruits and vegetables?


  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    preferably both! choose your devil i suppose with the other question: hurt the environment with gas cost, or hurt the environment with pesticides. which hurts your body more? I suppose the conventional.

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    Ask your local farmers if they don’t spray too much. Often, small farmers use fewer pesticides/herbicides because they don’t want to expose themselves/their families to that many chemicals.

    My order of preference is:

    1) local organic

    2) local, lightly sprayed

    3) organic

  • Or grow your own. :)

    I prefer locally grown too, when I can get some. But that’s not very often so I stick to organic. Still, you can never tell just HOW organic they are in chain stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc.)

  • If you can’t grow your own, I’m with Winona.

  • Imo, it’s always BEST to support your local economy. However, organic is always better for your body and the environment, but when it’s a tossup between the two, always go local. I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay away from the massive chains and corporate businesses.

  • DreaDrea Raw Master

    This is great info! Usually I run to the organic depot before going to local farmers in fear that they are using chemicals. I deal with one local farmer that says he uses fertelizer from time to time, is this bad? Since going vegan and raw, I’ve become afraid of “stuff” being added to the growth of foods. If I am overreacting, please let me know because it would be such a relief to go to a couple of local farmers markets, AND CHEAPER!

  • springleafspringleaf Raw Newbie

    Also, there are farmers that are on the way to being organic that no longer use pesticides ect but as there are traces left in the soil they are not yet certified organic, in the uk (i don’t know about elsewhere) the organic certification people are very strict. The produce from these farmers would be almost as good as organic and of course, local.

  • I’m actually doing a report on the carbon footprint right now – only 11% of food production’s carbon footprint is transportation (overall, food is 13% of our overall carbon footprint in America).

    It has been said that the process of making the food is a lot more important than how far it has to travel. In fact, if all beef were organic and cows were fed grass instead of the fertilized, chemical laden feed, the carbon footprint for meat production would go down 40%, JUST from that. The fertilizers, when digested by bacteria, create so much greenhouse gases as well as pollute waterways, etc.

    But it is harder to put raw into the context of these statistics because while the general meat eater’s diet may be only 11% transportation of the finished product, common sense says that with produce, transportation accounts for a larger percentage since there is an overall smaller cost (and carbon footprint) than with meat production. Eleven thousand pounds of beef costs relatively the same amount to transport as 11,000 pounds of mangos, but it is a far higher percentage of the mango’s overall footprint. Still, though, I think that organic is more important than local, because even if transportation accounts for, say 25% of the destructiveness of produce production, it would still be dwarfed by the impact of the production process.

    Bottom line – it seems transportation is overrated, especially with meat, but also with plants. Pesticides seem to be underrated. Just my thoughts – I wish I had more research studies to look at dealing with vegan food so I wouldn’t have to interpret the overall stats dealing with meat.

  • I’ll add to that…after you take out all of the process related harms of producing conventional produce and replace it with organic, I would imagine the impact of transportation would be a lot bigger. If you take organic produce grown here and compared it to that produced in Brazil, there is probably a big difference percentage wise (in terms of pollution, carbon) since the other factors are minimized. If both sources are organic, it seems that transportation would be magnified. It would be like 2 people growing herbs for you in their backyard, but one biking it to you and the other driving it.

    But I still say organic foreign beats conventional local any day. Just my opinion/guess – correct me if I am wrong.

  • kandacekandace Raw Newbie

    I often find that, after chatting with vendors at the farmers’ market, many local growers are organic without the expensive certification. I’m inclined to buy from these folks (and local, organic growers). I have been more and more hesitant to use ingredients that come from far away (like the tropics) rather than local or at least in neighboring states (this gives me California, Oregon and Washington which will usually suffice). My one splurge in usually organic bananas and the occasional coconut, which simply do not grow around here.

  • the more your food travels, te longer it takes to get from the field (or tree) to your plate, and the more nutrients are destroyed. I am not an expert, but from a nutritional standpoint, from all that I have read, local is better than organic for MOST things. (anything that is heavily sprayed I try to get organic, like berries, etc.) Growing your own, as was suggested already, is wonderful, as are local farmers!! Good luck!

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    I mostly eat organic, and I encourage folks with the means, to do the same. But here’s something to keep in mind: “Now the pesticide question. That is the biggest reason why we want organic, right? Because there is no pesticides on it. I would just like to put the pesticide issue into perspective. In Traci’s Principles book, available as a free download from (www.bestfoodist.com) if you haven’t gotten it yet, she has a chart that shows pesticide residues in common foods in parts per million. In a potato, the pesticide residue is .003 . in a piece of animal flesh, it is .281, nearly 100 more parts per million in every bite. It would take you over 90 days of eating conventionally grown potatoes to get the same amount of pesticide residue that one serving of chicken contains. Why? Because not only do the animals’ bodies collect and concentrate the poisons into their flesh, their feed is allowed to have 20% more pesticides used than that of crops grown for human use.” See the entire article here

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    Winona – Thanks for the info. about pesticides in meat versus plant foods – very interesting!

  • DreaDrea Raw Master

    So is it o.k. to eat supermarket veggies also? or is this out of the question? Because their are some veggies that my local supermarket has that the organic shop or the local growers dont, like jicama. Also, I read the article that Winona posted (thanks Winona!), so I am assuming that veggies can have most of their poisons rinsed off, right? Does this count for supermarket veggies too? As you can see, I’m all confused!

  • shgadwashgadwa Raw Newbie

    Interesting thread… Interesting point, Kandace! Never thought much about that but, it is helpful.

    I would say that organic is better than local, not organic. ESPECIALLY if the locals use lots of chemicals… you are then supporting chemicals.

    But I never thought of the fact that small farmers usually do not use that much…

  • DreaDrea Raw Master

    Hmmmm…. So is it not o.k at all to buy from supermarkets? Or can I do that and wash them good? If my local farmer uses sprays from time to time, should I not buy from him? Please read my previous comment before this one and if anyone has help, HELP

  • You might want to consider finding a food co-op in your area.. Membership often requires working a few hours a week/month but you will have access to both local and organic produce. What is available may change week to week, but you will be privy to savings and information on where exactly your food is coming from, and what has gone into producing it.

    I also recently found out that it is a very common practice to fertilize organic produce with blood and/or bone meal, along with fish oils. Now I am assuming that its all organic blood and fish.. but.. Well, it did throw me for a bit of a loop.. I was also a bit surprised it was something I and many of my other vegan friends hadn’t known before!

  • rosehebrewrosehebrew Raw Newbie

    I used to just be concerned about mostly pesticides but after reading Green For Live and the chart that shows the lack (some were almost non-existent) of some minerals in fertilized crops I am very concerned with that also. I also suspect that the same would be true for vitamin content as plants take up the tools to make those nutrients from the bacteria in the soil and that would not happen hardly at all in chemically burned out soil. I eat for nutrition and taste so I would rather buy organic from my grocery stores than local produce that is chemically fertilized. I will never buy from local conventional growers because there is nobody looking over their shoulder as far as their pesticide use at all so to me that can be dangerous to my health.

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