Here's one for the critics. Scenario: You're on a budget, so you're buying in bulk and as cheap as possible. You cut coupons and when you go to bed you consider if it's possible to make your children use cloth rags rather than toilet paper after pissing. Then you stumble across someone with an awesome personality, lots of knowledge and energy – we'll call this person Greta. Greta tells you about the poor, poor, starving children of Asia; the long, exhausting hours that created your low-priced t-shirts; the way Wall-Mart is just stealing customers from small businesses; the poison spewed out over your fresh greens every day by farmers and to top it all off, she goes into depth on the Evils of companies like Monsanto and McDonald's.
To be completely honest, I'm gonna be Greta. Sorry. But bear with me.
It's a moral and economical issue: do you follow Greta's call for you to buy locally produced, fair-trade and organic goods only – or do you penny-pinch? Is it even possible to do both?
I guess, if you live in an area where you're well known and liked, where there's lots of farmers, you could – theoretically – trade goods. ”Give me a five pound bag of your pork, Bill, and I'll make you a gallon of that cider you really like!” That would be cheap, and provided Bill lets his pigs walk outside and gives them only organic food, and you grow your organic apples and make great cider.
However, that idyllic life isn't true for most of us. We live busy lives, often far from farmers. So we must choose. Buying the cheapest cans of tomatoes when they're on sale is of course an option. Buying only the organic canned tomatoes from a Farmer's Market or Co-op is another. Growing and canning your own tomatoes is a third.
But why must we choose? Well, first of all, the world is decidedly heading towards globalism in one form or another. Whether you believe in the New World Order or just think that global-trade is happening, what we do on this side of the globe, affects another in some way. So when that farmer sprays his GMO-corn with Round-Up (don't get me started on Round-Up!), he's not affecting only his farm, his city, his state, his country, but in some way this entire world – probably on a rather miniscule scale though. Actions, therefore, have consequences.
Secondly, to have fresh vegetables all year round, they are often imported or otherwise travel really far. I live in Sweden, is it fair of me to buy African oranges – or even the Spanish ones? Or the ones from Florida, because they tend to show up around Christmas. Do I buy oranges at all? They're grown by a farmer, picked by a worked, loaded onto a truck, driven to a boat or an airport, sailed or flown to my country (or state), loaded onto another truck after spending some time in a warehouse, and then slowly distributed to local stores. That procedure goes for a lot of goods, which produces a lot of greenhouse gases, and since most people own a TV I don't think I need to go on about those.
Thirdly, there's the health aspect. Do you know if the tomatoes in your hypothetical can of tomatoes have been sprayed with chemicals – and if so, were they washed properly? Canning does take a lot of heat and pressure, and tomatoes are notoriously acidic, so they're probably not dangerous as such. However, is there long-time exposure to small amounts of chemicals that could be toxic? There's growing research that suggests that we're continuously bombarded with, for one, estrogen and other hormones, or hormone-like substances, which may (or may not) be the cause of some of our modern illnesses. Parabens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraben#Toxicology) were mentioned, I believe, and they're everywhere in soaps, lotions and make-up.
But then again, you're standing there trying to make your family eat for less than that monstrous bill from last month. D'you really care? They're on sale at the low-price store and tomatoes are versatile! Soups, sauces, crock-pots... feel your mouth watering?
The thing is, making a choice is better than pretending it doesn't exist, so that's why I wrote this. Not to convert you to the locally produced, fair-trade, organic-only side (though I may hope, I suppose), but to provoke a thought. I know families on budgets (in the US mainly), who still buy organic-only, but they've had to change their taste-buds and food-choices. Trends go towards very little meat, lots of vegetables and whole grains, beans and eggs for protein and seasonal-shopping. It is quite possible though!
Bio: I'm Daphne, and I'm a service-oriented submissive. I'm from Sweden, which is not to be confused with Switzerland - we don't make clocks or chocolate, nor do we wear leatherhosen. I've been in service for the past four years, to my Owner Mephisto. I love cooking, cleaning and organizing. My passion lies in making my Owner's life as pleasant and smooth as possible. I'm also a strong advocate for organic food without additives and cooking from scratch. I recycle, buy used and don't own a car, to minimize my carbon footprint. I'm studying for a Bachelor's in Culinary Arts and Meal Science