Maria Rodale CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc. 10/21/2013
What if you knew the government and certain businesses were messing with your brain? Well, they are. As Ellen Ruppel Shell writes in her book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, governments and some big businesses know that most people get the same buzz from a good discount as they get from gambling. But as with gambling, the “house” always wins.
For every big-win story, there are thousands more who’ve lost. This discount technique comes into play in our food as well, as no government subsidies or handouts are given to organic farmers, putting the cost of paying for pricey certifications, inspections and high insurance plans solely on them. This is why the things you buy the most – such as milk and eggs – are dirt-cheap compared to their organic counterparts. Zap! That good deal just gave you a buzz that encourages you to resist organic.
So, allow me to attempt to rewire your brain a bit – or perhaps free it – with 10 reasons that organic is worth it!
Organic farmers get no government subsidies or handouts. Whether you are liberal or conservative, that’s a good thing. Although, it does mean that your tax dollars are paying for all that cheap food.
You will automatically become an environmentalist without having to make a donation or show up for a protest. Here’s a short list of things organic farmers help keep totally out of our soil, water, air and bodies: toxic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, sewage sludge, antibiotics and growth hormones. All of these are known to cause grave physical damage in people as well as bees, bats, frogs, and fish.
You will be healthier. You can pay more now or pay later (in health care costs). Agricultural chemicals are known to cause diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, asthma, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, ADHD and perhaps even autism. And we’ve only scratched the surface in understanding what damage these toxins are doing to our health.
You can feel good about your contribution to a better world. It’s kind of like making a charitable donation, but instead of it filtering through a middleman, your money directly helps an entire chain of good people, families, and the environment they affect. Your health, too.
You are supporting families and businesses that are making the world better. I have seen this with my own eyes over and over again. Farm families that thought they would lose their farms because of the fluctuations of commodity milk prices switch to organic and not only save their farms, but also find that they are all healthier and happier as a result. And the companies that help them transition, like Organic Valley, are truly wonderful companies that do great things for their farmers, their customers, their employees, and the whole community.
You will be helping to prevent climate change. Seriously! Organic soil holds much more carbon, uses much less fossil fuel resources – which aren’t just used in tractors but are in the toxic chemicals that are made from fossil fuels used in nonorganic farming practices – and sustains habitats for all the creatures that help keep our planet healthy.
You will be helping to prevent droughts and floods. Research at the Rodale Institute and many other institutions have shown that organic soil is much more absorbent than chemically farmed soil. That means it holds more water during droughts and floods. Plants grown organically also have a much bigger and more resilient root system, so they can last longer in extreme weather.
You will be doing your part to leave the world a better place than you found it. Really, what is the price of that? And all you have to do is go food shopping and eat yummy stuff and perhaps buy organic cotton clothing for your body and home (cotton is one of the most toxic crops on the planet).
Karma Points: When you pay more for good things, other people can afford to pay you more. This is where the true economic brain rewiring happens. It might not seem like a direct link from one thing to another, but as Ellen Ruppell Shell shows in her book, everything is connected economically. Our obsession with cheap stuff actually shrinks all of our economies and pocketbooks and makes it much harder for employers to increase wages and spending. Try it. You’ll see it works. And at the very least, you will eat better in the process.
And lastly, it just tastes better. You are getting better-quality food that nine times out of 10 does taste better. Just ask my kids. Here’s what my seven-year-old said when she was eating a salad out at a restaurant in Manhattan: “This doesn’t taste good — it doesn’t taste organic; organic is better!”