How much are you willing to pay for organic produce? Can you be sure that it is worthwhile? These are worldwide questions with no straight answer. In Argentina, certified organic production is relatively new as it started about 20 years ago. The extension and richness of the Argentinean soil and the use of little agrochemicals made it easy for conventional farmers to transition to certified organic production. The certification of organics in my country is made by third party organizations. This means that a private agency controls and verifies that the producer is in compliance with the standards and provides them with the organic certification seal that you find in the food label. There are a dozen of certifiers and all of them must be approved and controlled by a national organism called SENASA (Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria).
Argentina is third organic producer country in the world, complying with the strictest standards (European Union, USDA, etc.). Unfortunately, only 5% of the organic production stays in Argentina. I ask myself, what’s the point of using ecological techniques to grow organic apples if you then spend lots of resources (and contribute to pollution) to ship them to Europe? In my opinion it is more important to buy local and seasonal produce. It is likely that they have less pesticides than the ones that need to shipped.
Even though the interest for buying organics has been growing, the internal market is still small. Mainly because their high cost and the lack of massive distribution. Also, many people don’t even think about buying organic because Argentinean regular foods are though to be “natural”.
If you are going to spend in organic produce, I would start with foods from the dirty dozen list. These are foods that -when conventionally produced- are likely to have higher levels of pesticides’ residues (According to the Environmental Working Group).
How is the organic production in your area? Please share your thoughts!
The dirty dozen
· domestic blueberries
· sweet bell peppers
· spinach, kale and collard greens
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