There was an article in the newspaper this morning about a crop of Thai basil growing on an ‘Ewa farm that had to be destroyed because a pesticide not approved for the basil was found on it.
It reminded me of the dilemma I have every time I shop at a farmers market or even Whole Foods – should I go with the organic produce grown in California (or China) or the more recently harvested and not organically grown local greenery.
Ideally I would grow most of what I eat, fresh produce-wise, and I’ve actually made inroads towards that end. How totally cool is it to eat food I grew in my yard – apple bananas, coconuts, mangos (piries!), basil, arugula, swiss chard, various kinds of kale, tomatoes, hawaiian chili peppers and soon, with any luck, papayas! I am fortunate to have a yard in which to grow these things, not to mention a yard in Hawai’i, although other than the trees, I grow everything else in flower pots – chemical free, of course.
A friend told me awhile back that her goal was simply to reduce her carbon imprint on the earth, and since then, she has created an amazing ecosystem in her yard, from chickens to a worm farm to a rain catchment system to an elevated fishpond that somehow generates fertilizer for the garden. How odd that it takes such effort to live the way people lived in the old days, growing their own food, making things from scratch. Even something as minor as making salad dressing is unheard of, yet the resources and materials to make it with are often right in front of us and are less expensive and healthier if we can spare the few minutes to make our own food. For that matter, growing vegetables in flower boxes on a concrete balcony isn’t all that difficult, either.
All this to say that I have always appreciated having a yard and now that I have made a conscious decision to have a real relationship with it, whether it’s raking leaves every morning, watering my flower pots or admiring everything that’s growing, it is my small contribution to sustainability – and to healthy living. And as far as local vs organic, I guess it will continue to be a dilemma.