You are what you eat

I recently finished Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (which I’ve reviewed for UU World. Many of the concerns Pollan takes up regarding food production have also been addressed by the Guardian. Today, for instance there’s this article: Will the organic dream turn sour?

We now have millions of people buying organic in a committed way. But there’s a tightrope to be walked: we must promote organic farming, but not industrialised organic production.

I subscribe to a box delivery scheme (as the Brits would say) of organic fruits and vegetables. The quality is for the most part quite high, and there’s a nice variety, but much of the produce comes from a distance. During the summer I stopped the service because there are so many farmers markets available to me.

My friend Pam in Philadelphia has started a company to do home delivery of locally produced food (including meats). I don’t know if everything is organic, but I think it is. As both Pollan and the Guardian point out, the carbon load of organic products shipped from around the world may easily outweigh any environmental benefits of organic produce.

Eating with an eye toward ecological responsibility is filled with confusion and compromise. Here’s to the tightrope!