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Beyond organics

(article, Culinate staff)

Last week in a special section in Time_ magazine, writer Jeffrey Kluger explored the benefits and costs of organics. The bottom line: In almost every case, organic food costs more at the checkout, but this food in the long run probably provides a bigger bang for the buck nutritionally and in environmental health (which we all eventually pay for). 

Too, with meat and dairy products, the organic certification gives some assurances that the food animals were not fed routine antibiotics — and were themselves fed better, more species-appropriate diets (for example, organically certified cows, which are vegetarian, are not fed animal byproducts; chickens aren't be fed chicken byproducts). Organically labeled meat and dairy comes from animals who don't live their lives confined in close quarters, like their conventionally raised counterparts.

Now, there's more evidence that organic food is a better choice than conventional food: This week, a new study shows that organic foods — specifically strawberries, in this case — are a better choice than conventional produce on several counts: nutritionally, for soil health, and for flavor. 

But still there's the question of cost. Awhile back on Culinate, Leda Meredith offered suggestions for sourcing affordable local foods; many of them also apply to organics.