What’s better, Local or Organic?

Via elephant journal
on Aug 31, 2009
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If I buy a local apple at my farmers’ market that isn’t certified organic, it could be sprayed with chemicals, GMO, what-have-you. So organic’s certainly safer. Still, buying an organic apple that’s been shipped from New Zealand makes me responsible for a helluvalotta food miles, and resultant pollution.

So I ask you: what’s better, Local or Organic? Can we work out some sort of eco rating that combines the two, and whatever other factors are relevant?

organic local


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7 Responses to “What’s better, Local or Organic?”

  1. Tom Frascone…or you could just got to a farmers' market and bypass the corporate entity completely…
    about an hour ago · Delete

    Waylon Lewisor you could just read the post and see that's mentioned in the first line
    about an hour ago · Delete

    Tom Frasconehaha i did, i just thought it needed to be address in the facebook comments as well. 🙂
    about an hour ago · Delete

    Etai Bar-onGreat question. The word "local" is not regulated and used freely and loosely by marketers and branding agents.
    about an hour ago · Delete

    Waylon LewisGood man, Tom, shoulda known. Just many times it seems folk react to titles without reading the actual post, which is tough sometimes taking punchy titles out of context.

  2. When faced with the choice between local and organic, consider the following: organic offers a range of benefits that non-organic local products do not. Because they are regulated by the federal government, products bearing the organic label must meet a strict set of production/handling guidelines. They must be made without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering. Additionally, they must not undergo irradiation or contain ingredients made from cloned animals. Local products are not held to any such standards, and therefore cannot be counted on to meet any of the aforementioned criteria. And, because the term “local” is itself undefined, no guarantees can be made about whether a product is, indeed, local!

    Organic products are also distinct with respect to traceability. In order to meet federal regulations, careful records must be kept about every phase of organic production. Moreover, each of these steps must be verifiable by a third party. Local products, by contrast, are neither required to provide such documentation nor to undergo third-party review. As such, no guarantees can be made about where local products come from or how they are handled.

  3. Mary says:

    Isn't it against the rules to take photos inside of Whole Foods? I'm not trying to call you out, I just have worked for a social responsibility branding agency in fort collins and we got in trouble for taking pictures inside of Whole Foods!

  4. […] I am going to be drinking Avery, which is made in Boulder. I know that my beer will have low food miles, and that it will support non-corporate liquor […]

  5. […] to each other. It’s going green on a slightly larger scale than doing things like, say, using organic shampoo (but you can keep doing that […]

  6. […] I am going to be drinking Avery, which is made in Boulder. I know that my beer will have low food miles, and that it will support non-corporate liquor […]

  7. Lopo says:

    While recently shopping at my neighborhood green market, I asked a farmer/vendor what it meant that his produce was not labelled organic. He said ” it means I have a small farm and don’t have $10000 to pay for the right to use the word organic.”