Is there Ecological food?

My first closer look in ecologically cultivated food was not very positive. In order to prevent allergy to my first child I bought a package of organic rolled oats. This oatmeal tasted good until we came back home after two weeks holidays…I opened the pantry door and a swarm of flying insects attacked towards me. Oh no! All our grains and flours were stored in this pantry and now everything was spoiled by those insects. That’s why for some years I never bought any organic foodstuffs…What I learned was to keep and storage the grains and flours in airtight containers. Today I hardly think about this not so amusing memory, but it certainly became clear that the oat was never sprayed against pests…

eco friendly productIs organic food environmentally friendly? Nowadays there are about 1,500 to 2,000 organic food products sold in shops in Finland.  But where do they come from? When I popped in our local grocery store, I noticed that there were organic apples and raisins from the USA. Is this eco-friendly? What are the benefits for the environment, if organic food has to be transported all over the world? And do we in Finland really need to eat organic apples transported from the USA?  I’d rather eat organic apples from Poland. But anyhow I prefer buying organic raisins than non-organic raisins.

On the other hand, is organic farming environmentally friendlier than non-organic farming? Organic production is less environmentally damaging than conventional production, when comparing cultivated areas. Still, conventional production is environmentally more efficient. Moreover it is said that organic food is not more nutritious than conventional food.  I think that much more research needs to be done so that cultivation is environmentally friendlier and safer to people. I’m surprised that there are no ready-made solutions yet.

So how this affects my shopping habits? Little… As a mother of three kids there are two things  which I consider when buying food: origin and price. I favor Finnish food and low prices. This week after reading about organic farming, I made a decision that I will always buy organic food when the price is not considerably higher than in non-organic food. So far I have bought organic raisins (from the USA!), organic Finnish milk and oatmeal. As a parent I hope that my little example will show my children that even little steps are important.

To sum up my experience’s influence on my buying decisions; I’m still quite suspicious and want always to check all the details of the food products before buying.

What about you? What is important to you when you buy food?

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13 Responses to Is there Ecological food?

  1. Ninnu says:

    I prefer regional, seasonal and organic ingredients. Fish directly from market halls & veggies, meat and eggs from “food markets/provider shops”. Then you know what you eat and where it is from :)😉

    • martsa74 says:

      It takes perhaps little more effort if you have to go to different shops, but I´m convinced that it is worth it.

  2. kinnina says:

    I have cultivated potatoes, carrots and peas in my backyard. Gardening is very therapeutic for me. I’ll get elation at the success when it’s time to reap the harvest. It’s very important for me to know the origin of food.
    My children participated in the organic food trial in their kindergarten over ten years ago. During the trial period (1 year) they were healthier than before or after the trial I think. The kindergarten staff also reported that the children were less absent during the organic food trial. I do believe that what we are what we eat.
    Thank you very much for your article. You gave me the great reason to focus on cultivating again.

    • martsa74 says:

      We have cultivated spinach, carrots, salad and peas and we have also berry bushes in our backyard (red currant, black currant, raspberry). Those berry bushes are like candy bushes, but of course much healthier and the taste is better than is sweets.

  3. 04val says:

    I think it’s very important to make guidelines to what the 3 terms mean to you: organic product, eco friendly product and local product. Depending on your definitions, it will be easier to justify what products you purchase in means to solidify your core values.

    In my perspective, organic product consists of a life cycle from seedling to consumer purchasing. From the beginning when the seed is sprouted (non genetically modified seed), into the growth of product without sprays or steroids, to the packaging without any addition of preservatives. Any product that has an organic certification upholds to these standard, but be careful, not all products need to be 100% organic to have this type of certification. In a lot of cases, they may contain 80% organic ingredients and 20% undetermined.

    I feel that organic products have hit a niche in our current market and though they are better for you, companies do pay for these certifications so don’t be fooled by their intent.

    Local products may not have the certification but it doesn’t mean they are not organic. Many local providers harvesting organic ingredients don’t have the financial equity to get certified and so the word “local” is the next best thing. Plus, it’s a lot easier to track down how the product is “actually produced” and manufactured if its in your proximity. Also, purchasing local product supports sustainability or in other words, “an eco friendly” environment.

    When someone says “eco friendly” product, there are many factors to consider which are all part in relation to the products life cycle(Cradle to Grave). The seven factors to consider:

    1.Raw Material Acquisition –> 2.Manufacturing/Processing –> 3.Distribution/Transportation –> 4.Use/Reuse/Maintenance –> 5.Recover/Recycle –> 6.Waste Management

    If all these steps are completed without a single aspect harming the environment, then you can truly say the product is 100% sustainable or eco friendly, otherwise the product is just eco-conscious, where it’s considerate of the environment and perhaps may be a better alternative then its competitor but still damaging.

    Organic and eco friendly products are all branched under sustainability, which amazes me that organic America apples are sold in Finland. You truly get to see the true objective of companies who sell organic products, when they disregard the environmental impact their carbon footprint leaves behind.

    In my eyes, sustainability has a greater value then organic or eco friendly product individually, but I understand we all have different value and I respect you for bringing awareness to this subject in your blog.

    • martsa74 says:

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge about this issue. You gave me new perspective to look about this matter.

  4. sannamas says:

    In summer time I have been in many years grown my tiny garden and on my balcony salad, herbs, tomatoes, beans and strawberries. I also try tried to grow potatoes in buckets.
    My son likes that and It`s also fun. I know what we eat and without preservatives.

    • martsa74 says:

      I think it is important that kids see how food is cultivated even if it is in one´s balcony. They learn to take care of plants. And perhaps your son will continue this tradition when he is adult.

  5. markojarvelin says:

    “What are the benefits for the environment, if organic food has to be transported all over the world?”
    – Couldn’t agree more with this point, there are no benefits at all. Organic should be locally sourced as well as cultivated.

  6. jay1st says:

    You are too affraid

    There has been research about organic food and some of them are against. It seems that organic is more vulnerable to diseases and their shelf life is shorter. Still, what do You think about hamburger which stays eatable for six months unpacked. There must be lots of poisons to keep it in that condition. I can not say which is better. I use both.

  7. miausm says:

    I agree with you martsa74 that some major aspects that I consider when shopping are origin and price. Unfortunately food pricing in Finland is so high that one can not always make a decision that one really wants. Due to the income level – taxes + the size of your household, going more organic is a dream yet to come true.

    We don’t always realize the amount of pesticides or the intensity of these stuffs. When living abroad, I was amazed of how short lifetime fruits really have when there is no extra poison used. Even orange with its thick cover will not last weeks, not even days! That was really a eye-opening experience and makes me a bit worried of what we actually put into our mouth!

  8. paijje says:

    Today food is a big question mark for people. If you read magazines or net you will find almost daily articles which deal with food. People are confused what to eat and what kind of food they should buy for living healthy.

    I am a supporter for organic food but some kind of sense should be in this hysteria of food. I have decided that I prefer Finnish food if the alternative food is organic food from USA. I am sure that Finnish food is almost better choice than organic food from overseas. The food production in Finland is so regulated and pure and you never know what kind of regulation they have abroad. It might be that they can use some poisons in growing which are forbidden in Finland.

    Anyway, as said, food pricing in Finland is so high that it is not possible for everyone to choose organic food. But if you just think a bit what you buy and look what products you buy contains, you don’t need to break the bank and you eat pure and healthy food. It only insists a bit effort at first but it’s worth of it.

  9. martsa74 says:

    I agree with you that food pricing in Finland is high and anyhow it is important to check what product contains.

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