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Why I Choose Organic, the Background


I think to most people, my parents would be considered hippies. My 3 siblings and I grew up on an 11-acre, organic vegetable farm in a small town in Northern Indiana. We had dairy goats, chickens, and the occasional rabbit or pig. We mostly ate what we grew and filled in the rest with food from the wholesale organic suppliers my parents worked with at the natural foods co-op where my mother worked. Our dairy, meat, and eggs came from our goats and chickens and yes, we butchered our own chickens, tapped maple trees for syrup, made pickles from our cucumbers, and kept bees for honey. I’m not kidding. It was the modern hipsters dream childhood. So, today I’m passionate about buying organic and living a “clean” lifestyle. It feels a little surreal to see how popular “clean living” has become. My 9-year-old self would have felt a huge sense of relief to know that someday, when I got older, it would be COOL to wash your hair with organic, naturally-derived, unscented shampoo! At the time, I wanted nothing more than the shampoo my friends had at their houses. The same goes for the foods we ate. I vividly remember feeling so embarrassed by how we typically ate that one time we were having some girls over to our house for dinner and I begged my mom to buy ingredients to make a meal I had had before at a friends house that I thought would be more “cool”. It did taste good if I remember correctly but, what I definitely remember was being sick to my stomach that night. Anyway, apart from not feeling so isolated by choosing organic and non-conventional foods and products, I’m extremely happy to see that the market may be shifting away from conventional options. Hopefully, organic products and foods will become much more commonplace and we can truly make a large scale impact on the amount of toxicity in our bodies and the environmental ruin caused my conventional farming and manufacturing. I hope we can make change outside of the system of capitalism but also, I want us all to speak with our dollars...lets not buy items we don’t want to exist! So, where does all of this leave me as an adult? I actively try to emulate the way I was raised. Yes, there is a sense of familiarity in living and eating in the way of my childhood. But there is much more than that, too. There are the reasons why my parents made those decisions that I, too, am making today for my family. I believe in trying to make a smaller footprint, in supporting local farmers and suppliers, in eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, in exposing myself and my family to the least amount of toxic chemicals as possible. The list goes on. It is a trend right now and it is expensive sometimes. To me, it’s worth it because I feel good about my decisions--I really believe in my actions. I do choose to cut some costs in other ways that don’t hurt our earth or our bodies (because what I put down my drain gets in your water, too). And when people poke fun at me for not letting my child eat the conventional snacks, I’ll feel good knowing that I’m doing what I believe in.