If you’ve been following me on Instagram stories (if you’re not then get on that! 😉 it’s @runcarmyrun!) then you would have seen that last week, I was kicking off Organic Week with Clif Bar & Company and COTA (Canada Organic Trade Association) with a fun little dinner with those in the industry. Over the course of the week, more and more information came out on the importance of choosing organic.
I’m currently in a transition period in my life. I’ve moved on from my student diet of instant noodles, pizza, and chicken nuggets. I now have more freedom regarding what I choose to buy whether it be due to having the time to go out to farmers markets and shopping local and I now have the time to be able to meal prep better so I’m not buying pizza at 12AM. So National Organic Week really came at the perfect time for me as I was actively seeking out information on how to improve my diet.
So what is organic week? Organic Week is Canada’s largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. All over Canada were were events such as Organic certification workshops, workshops to learn from leading industry leaders about superfoods, creation and tasting of Local Organic Spirits, food courses, and more!
Since the kick off of Organic Week, I’ve started making more conscious decisions on what I’m eating. For example, I started using Blue Goose. Blue Goose Organic poultry is Canadian Organic Certified and they are also certified humane. I’ve also started to swap out my staples for their organic counterparts. For example, I’ve started swapping out my regular bananas for organic banana. I’ve also started to keep my eyes peeled for that organic logo (i.e. the green logo down below on the Clif Bar Organic Trail Mix Bar) to see which products are certified organic and are not just pretending to be organic to get an extra buck or two as organic certification is government regulated.
I’m sure there are some of you just sitting there going “why organic bananas? What’s wrong with regular ones? What’s difference does it make?” Well I’m going to share with you a story that Matthew Dillon, the Director of Agricultural Policy and Program shared with us at the dinner that really stuck with me. And by stuck with me I mean kept me awake at night making me reconsider all the decisions I’ve made in my life. When Matthew Dillon was a youngling, around 12, he would cut beans with his friends for money as a part time job. One day, he cut through a corn field and right as he was doing that, pesticides were sprayed down on him. In 4 days, he had lost 15 pounds, hospitalized, and his growth was stunted from that point on.
My gut reaction to that story was to run home and plant my own garden ASAP. I was honestly horrified. Corn is in EVERYTHING. What in the world was I putting into my body? Eating organic food reduces our exposure to pesticides and GMOs. In addition is reducing our personal exposure, eating organic means it reduces exposures for our farmers. Our choices of what we buy and eat directly affect those in our community or in farming communities outside of the city.
On that thought, organic production is also more friendly to the environment and promotes animal welfare. While I’m not going to sit here and pretend I understand the little details about our environmental footprint, what I do remember from my Environmental Science course in my undergrad that organic farming helps store high levels of carbon in the soil, protects soil from erosion, helps prevent water contamination, and uses less energy than conventional farming methods. Again, our current decisions will have a direct impact on the earth as we continues to grow in population, there will only be so much land, fossil fuels (organic uses less), and water for us to use.
I know that this is a bit more serious that what I usually blog about but I just feel like it is important for us to understand where our food is coming from and the conditions that it is being grow in. While ignorance is bliss, I am grateful that National Organic Week is helping raise awareness on this important subject.
Special thanks to Clif Bar for inviting me to the dinner with COTA for an educational evening (and for sending me organic seeds with garden gloves/tools to get me started on my own little garden next spring!) Check out Organic Week’s website to find an event near you!
QOTD: What are your thoughts on this? Do you eat organic product? Why or why not?
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