When embarking on the journey to green my life, it was only natural that I began to research eating organic vs. non-organic. I was especially concerned about what I was feeding my son, and wanted to know if and why it was necessary for me to feed him organic foods. Often times organic food can cost a little more or be more difficult to find, thus it was important for me to look into the facts. All it took was one day of research and I concluded that it was...definitely.
The Environmental Working Group states that "the growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood." That was all I needed to read, but over the years I have continued to read fact upon fact about how it can not only be detrimental to our health to eat food laden with pesticides, but that the conventional way of growing produce can also reek havoc on our planet.
Pesticides end up not only on the produce we eat, but they enter into our soil, groundwater, bodies of water and even our air. Would you believe that the average non-organic apple has 20 - 30 artificial poisons on its skin, even after washing! Think about those apples being sprayed with these toxic chemicals, which are then let off into our air and end up on the ground. Think about the farmers and workers on these conventional farms, constantly breathing in these chemicals, getting them on their clothes and shoes, tracking them into their homes where their families then get exposed to them. These farmers & workers have higher rates of respiratory illness, cancer and infertility. Think about these toxic chemicals ending up in the water run-off of farms, where they endanger our water supply and also infiltrate the water supply of cattle and poultry. We then end up indirectly ingesting these chemicals by eating said cattle and poultry.
I also learned in my research that there are certain items you should definitely buy organic, and certain ones that have low levels of pesticide residue and are safer to eat conventional. The Environmental Working Group (the hardest working organization today lobbying for our safety and rights to information) came up with a shoppers guide called the "Dirty Dozen and Clean 15." This is a list of the fruits and vegetables that have the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residue. You can download this guide here and keep it in your wallet, as it is a great reference tool.
Using the "Dirty Dozen and Clean 15" guide when you shop is a good way to pick and choose what you buy organic so you aren't spending a lot of additional money. Another way to save money is to buy produce that is in season and local. Shopping at local farmer's markets also allows you a good opportunity to buy organic produce for less. Fortunately for us in Chicago, we are lucky to have The Green City Market year round. In the winter The Green City Market is every other Saturday at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Perhaps the easiest way these days to buy organic at the lowest cost is to enroll in an organic delivery service program. These programs allow you to pick how much produce you want and how much you want to spend each week. They then source the produce from the closest and best organic farmers throughout the year to provide you with beautiful organic fruits & veggies year-round.
Door to Door Organics is one of the companies in Chicago (they also offer delivery service in Colorado, Michigan, Kansas City and out East) that offers such a delivery service. They work with many organic farmers all over the world to bring you the best produce at the lowest cost. By working directly with the farmers and making a commitment to find fruits and vegetables that will travel the shortest distance, Door to Door is able to bring you produce that is of the utmost quality at the lowest price (with free delivery in most locations).
I was lucky enough to receive a Door to Door organics produce box, and I was beyond impressed. The selection and the quality were just awesome, especially for this time of year. I got the most beautiful leeks and even mangoes! I got a call from the delivery driver giving me a heads up as to when he would arrive, and everything was packaged with care. Door to Door also has a "zero waste" policy where they have committed to reusing, composting or recycling everything that they can. They pick-up their boxes and plastic bags (the boxes are put in plastic bags during inclimate weather when a customer is not home to receive it) from each week's delivery the following week.
Door to Door offer boxes of produce in varying sizes and costs so that you can choose which is the best fit. The contents of the box changes each week based on the freshest and closest finds each week. You can also add things to your produce order by shopping online at the Door to Door Market where there is a big selection of items ranging from dairy alternatives to organic canned goods. They also have an option to form a co-op with people in your office or neighborhood and receive a discount on the box price (minimum 4 people).
Door to Door has very kindly offered one of their produce boxes
as a giveaway to Chicago Green Girl readers!
To enter to win, you must answer this question:
Why is it important for you to eat organic?
You can post your response in the comment section of this blog page, on my Facebook page, tweet me (@ChiGreenGirl) or send an email to allison (at) ecominders (dot) com. Be sure to include your email address!
They are also offering my readers who are new customers
40% off their bitty produce box.
Just use coupon code GREENGIRL2011 to redeem this discount.