Earlier today, I went to Target - only my favorite store on this side of the sun! Not where I always buy groceries, but I do really like their products. Plus their house brands Up & Up and Archer Farms are awesome! See how much I like their coupons here.
What you might not know about me is that I'm a people watcher, and boy are there all kinds of kinds in the grocery store - the confused macho male, the lazy stay-at-home mom still in her slippers, the crazy couponer AND the ultra-label reader. (For the record, the last is my least favorite.)
As a farmer's daughter, a College of Agriculture graduate and a person who is always looking for a good price --- these people both confuse and annoy me. I don't believe in the organic or all-natural spiel. I'd rather buy what I want, and not have to pay more for something just because it is "locally grown." I know it's not logical or economical to raise oranges without pesticides in Indiana. (Yes, that was a ridiculous example - sorry.)
My grocery shopping extravaganza and this article "Six Things Moms Get Wrong at the Grocery Store," from Dairy Herd Network, really got my wheels turning for my blog post today.
The author, Angela Bowman, shares results from a recent survey of mothers. These misconceptions are:
- It's okay to pay more for "hormone free" pork and chicken. The truth is, the USDA
[caption id="attachment_269" align="alignright" width="300"] I took this hog photo when I interned for the American Royal in 2011.[/caption]
already outlaws that, so there's no need to pay more for products advertised that way.
- "All Natural" means it's healthier. Sorry, but that's not the case - it only means that the processing methods are all natural.
- Family farms are dying. I can personally attest here. That one's just not true, about 97% of farms are family owned - like Bob Kleine Farms, Inc. (Hey Dad!)
- Organic farm practices include no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Not the case. Nor are they any better than conventionally raised foods. Bowman uses these stats, "American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) points that 'current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic compared with conventionally grown foods, and there are not well-powered human studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet.'”
- GMO (genetically modified organism) Food is chemically and nutritionally different than conventionally raised foods. I've been following this issue pretty closely, mostly because I don't understand why you wouldn't want to be able to produce more food to feed the world's growing population. Read my friend Crystal Cattle's input, and if you have a few minutes read this lengthy post from Fourat's Random Rationality blog. I loved Fourat's words, and this really stuck out to me - "Whatever is the case, we need to realize that feeding 7 billion, let alone 9 to 10 billion people in the near future, isn’t going to be easy. If it fits on a Facebook photo as a caption, you can rest assured it will solve nothing. This post is 4,600 words long and is barely scratching the surface. Some silly shared photo on Facebook demonizing Monsanto or chemical use not only shows you things out of context, they detract from the conversations we should be having."
- Local is always better. Sometimes, it's just not. (Like my ridiculous growing oranges in
[caption id="attachment_268" align="alignleft" width="199"] My brother Joe and one of his heifers, Weezy. We love our animals so much, we take pictures with them![/caption]
Indiana reference earlier.) But sometimes it just takes more energy (of the non-renewable variety) to grow them locally than it does to grow them across the country. Okay, I'll admit I didn't know this ... but does make sense!
I know that was long, and somewhat opinionated. But, I stand by the farmer's mantra - If I wouldn't feed it to my family, I wouldn't sell it to the world. On our farm, we gladly eat what we grow.
What did you take away from the article in Dairy Herd Network? Did you have some of the same misconceptions?
Until next time,