How Your Purchasing Power Can Change The World (yet another reason to buy organic)

Browsing online the other day, I noticed a campaign urging consumers to shun Annie’s Homegrown which has been acquired by GMO-peddling food giant General Mills*.

The group calling for the boycott (March Against Monsanto) urged readers to: “use your dollars to voice your disgust!”

It got me thinking.

Is your dollar really an agent of change? Or just a drop in the ocean?

Sometimes it’s hard to see the connection between forking over your hard-earned cash at the register and the decisions taken in the boardrooms of some of the most powerful agribusinesses in the world.

But it’s there.

According to figures from The Organic Center, if you buy at least one organic item in every ten items you purchase, you can quite literally change the world:

  • 915 animals would be treated more humanely
  • 53 million servings of produce would be produced without toxic pesticides
  • 20 million servings of milk would be produced without rBGH or antibiotics
  • 25,800 square miles of degraded soils would be converted to rich crop land
  • 98 million servings of drinking water would be without pesticides

And that’s just one in every ten. Imagine if the bulk of your shopping cart was organic!

“Yes, and imagine how empty my wallet would be,” I hear you say (or think…perhaps you aren’t in the habit of talking to your computer).

apologies for the swearing, but I kinda love this

apologies for the swearing, but I kinda love this

There are ways to buy organic on a budget. How do I know this? Because I buy organic on a budget.

I do this by buying bulk, buying in season and buying direct from the farmer if possible.

I also prioritise. The ‘dirty dozen‘ is helpful here – it’s the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of foods that are highest in pesticides (and therefore obviously the most important to buy organic).

if in doubt, print this and take it with you when you do your weekly shop!

if in doubt, print this and take it with you when you do your weekly shop!

It’s tough. I know, believe me, I know. I live on a tiny Caribbean island where not only am I paying a premium for food simply because it’s organic, I’m also paying a buttload of import taxes to get it into the country in the first place.

But I couldn’t urge my mother to buy organic, or warn my friend about pesticides, or even host this blog without putting my money where my mouth is.

*General Mills has spent millions trying to prevent GMO labelling.

Weigh in: Do you buy organic? If so, is it only certain items? Do you believe in purchasing power? Do you try to make your dollars count?

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5 thoughts on “How Your Purchasing Power Can Change The World (yet another reason to buy organic)

  1. Yes, I absolutely agree with you; every little bit helps. I started buying organic 20 years ago and over the years it became easier to find. At one point about 8-10 years ago, I was able to buy nearly everything organic. Since we’ve suffered an economic downfall, I still buy organic and local as much as possible, but utilize the dirty dozen/clean database. I am amazed at how people will say they can’t afford organic food while making payments on a $50K car, but then again, this is about priorities. I just think that health and a clean planet are paramount. Thanks for a great post – and all the amazing recipes!! You ROCK!

  2. I’ve been shelling out extra money for organic for close to 40 years. It’s always worth it. I’ve been a CSA member for 3 years and shop my local farmer’s market. I avoid the large organic supermarkets as much as possible, they are evil bastards. I started growing some food this year so I know where it came from. Sourcing organic, heirloom seeds is important too. It’s amazing how the food I grow tastes better. The project started as a way to get rid of the lawn, next year’s garden will be even better. When I do have to go to a supermarket, organic or otherwise, I know that my choices are going to scrutinized, so I try to be smart about it and let my purchases reflect what I want to see more of.

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