September 16, 2019 6:37 am Leave your thoughts
You know we love organic at Naturally Good Food, right? We could come up with five-hundred-and-fifty-five good reasons to eat organic, buy organic and use organic right now, off the top of our head. But just for today, we thought we’d take a slightly different tack and come at it from a different angle. Can we find five BAD reasons to eat organic food?!
It’s Organic September right now. Loads of individuals, companies and enterprises, led by the Soil Association (the guarantor of organic standard in the UK), are celebrating everything organic. There’ll be events, farmers’ markets, tastings, competitions and special offers galore. As the harvest gets properly underway across the country, it’s the perfect time to really work out how our lives and actions fit within our wider, natural environment. Organic food goes from strength to strength every year and no-one could be happier about that than us!
But even so – we’d like to strongly discourage you from eating organic if you’re doing it for the following five VERY BAD reasons….
1. For a sense of social superiority
Let’s face it, some people like organic because it’s that little bit more exclusive, expensive or hard to find. A supermarket basket full of nothing but organic produce? Loudly proclaiming that your child will only eat organic food at a class birthday party? It’s a great way of signalling just how very successful you are.
Don’t eat organic food for this reason: it does the organic cause no good at all. Those of us involved in organic production and retailing are passionate about the organic movement – we want organic food to be available and accessible to everyone. We champion the growth in organic farms, as it’s likely to bring prices down, and encourage our customers to buy in bulk from us (much cheaper!) or from our Sale (rock-bottom prices!).
In an ideal world, organic food would be the norm – and nothing to boast about.
2. Because celebrities do it
Because Monica-from-Friends does it (reportedly)? Because Nicole Kidman’s a massive fan? Because Julia Roberts and Gisele Bundchen and Sting apparently can’t get enough of it?
Don’t eat organic food because celebrities do it. Way back in 2011, the then-new head of the Soil Association, Helen Browning, expressed her irritation with celebrity endorsement of organic diets. It makes an organic diet seem elitist, she argued, when what’s needed is for organic food to be part of the mainstream, something for ordinary people, and something for everyone.
Celebrities? Let them eat kale. The rest of us can eat organic.
3. To tick a box
We frequently chat to our customers at Naturally Good Food. Many of our larger business customers are, like us, proper organic geeks – they understand organic and love organic. A few, however – a very few (and they don’t tend to hang around for long) – seem to be ‘going organic’ purely to tick a box. An all-organic menu at a start-up restaurant, for instance, can seem like a great idea. To some people, it might even seem like a licence to print money, allowing them to push prices up to reflect the organic ‘premium’.
People who truly understand what ‘organic’ means don’t think like that. They recognize the real benefits of organic food in environmental, nutritional and taste terms. They know how the organic system works and they don’t try to cheat it. If, for example, a truly organic restaurant can’t source any organic red split lentils, or walnuts, or apricots one week, they won’t substitute non-organic produce because ‘the customer won’t notice the difference’. They understand that organic really matters.
So don’t eat organic – or buy organic – to tick a box or simply to push prices up. Do it for the love of the stuff. Otherwise, everyone gets cheated (and the Soil Association will find you out)!
4. Because your body is ‘a temple’
At Naturally Good Food we think that organic food is the best for a clean environment and for a ‘clean’ diet. But we’re not keen on people fetishising it. Organic food involves fewer compromises than conventionally produced food, but it’s not produced by ruddy-cheeked peasants using nothing but a wooden trowel and a few worms. Organic farming is big business in many places: there are mechanical processes and large labour forces. There are casualties, too – those slugs are going to go somehow, though not through the medium of harmful pesticides on an organic farm. Nature remains red in tooth and claw, no matter how green the humans harnessing it are.
Does it matter? Only if by insisting on perfection, you make ‘the best’ the enemy of ‘the good’. Organic food is, in our opinion, as good as it gets in an imperfect world. We want people to recognize imperfections from the start, so that they don’t turn away in horror later on, feeling they’ve been deceived.
5. Because you think it’s magic
Organic food tastes amazing and, in our opinion, the freshest, most natural products bring the greatest nutritional benefits. But organic food isn’t a magic bullet. It won’t cure you of a terrible disease or protect you from the ravages of old age and decrepitude. It won’t make your children suddenly behave better or ace their exams.
So don’t eat organic food because you think it will have some magic effect. Once you start feeling that way, there’s a natural progression to eating only organic and to seeing non-organic food as ‘poisonous’. Most of us can’t afford to eat all-organic food, or couldn’t track down enough of the stuff to do so even if we had all the money in the world. We’re all going to find ourselves at some point in a restaurant/late-night kebab shop/party/service-station where conventional food is all there is – and it’s important to keep a steady, pragmatic head.
The five-hundred-and-fifty-five good reasons?
Those are the bad reasons! What about the five-hundred-and-fifty-five good ones? Well, over the years at NGF, we must have written 555 good words on why people should eat and buy organic. We’ve certainly provided many more than 555 good customers with wonderful organic products. We’ve handled 555 million good organic seeds, nuts, grains, pulses and fruits – and all for the right reasons!
If you’re not yet on board with us, check out just some of these reasons, stories and products right here:
- This is what organic means
- When organic really matters
- The birds and the bees: eat organic to protect wildlife
- Save our soil (and our planet) with the Soil Association
- Organic farming without pesticides?
- Organic: the invisible difference
This post was written by Yzanne