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Why I think all organic is good organic

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Is it OK to buy organic at big-box stores? Or does that kind of purchasing decision undercut smaller producers while creating a bigger  environmental footprint?

I believe in organic. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I think organic food production is the single most important solution for the planet, because of its far-reaching implications: from saving honeybees and the Gulf of Mexico to, yes, feeding the world.

But unquestionably, the movement continues to experience growing pains, as Jody Mason explores in this month’s Delicious Living story, “Big Organic” (found online as "Is Big Organic Bad?"). Even though we have a long way to go before chemical toxins and industrial feedlots become a thing of the past (I long for the day when we say, “what were we thinking?”), more people are seeking out organic and non-GMO foods. And with that comes challenges and compromises, both for producers and shoppers.

For example, I buy almost all of my family’s food at our neighborhood grocery store, which carries a large selection of organic produce and packaged goods … but I admit, when I’m throwing a dinner party I’m glad I can buy giant packs of organic chicken breasts at the big-box store down the highway. The way I figure it, buying anything organic pushes of the pendulum in the right direction; but am I hurting smaller organic producers with my choice?

I’m grateful for articles like Jody’s that raise these questions. But good conversation is never one-way; we want to hear what you think.

Is large-scale organic production the only hope for sustainable food? Or do the required compromises negate the good? Let us know your opinion by posting a comment below or on Facebook.

And while you’re at it, pick up some of this month’s organic bounty at your local store and try your hand at home canning—consider it your own small-scale enterprise to preserve organic integrity.

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