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).
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).
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?