Not easy being Green

USDA Organic, organic, Karie Herring, thefivefish.comMom’s and folks galore find the most amazing topics in life to argue about. Stout opposition. Blatant bullshit. Mindless minutiae. But let’s get to the brass tax of some largely misunderstood and widely misrepresented information. The Green Movement. Even more so, the whole organic movement and the stout opposition to HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) among mommy bloggers.

But a lot of folks are mislead or are completely uneducated about organic, certified organic, certified free trade, USDA certified organic, heirloom and the like. The business and marketing about organic is confusing to the layman and its marketing and a lifestyle choice to those who fully embrace, understand, and know the true meaning of going green and choosing organic. Let’s place a bit of fact or fiction regarding organic, buying organic, what organic really means, and exploring the full realm of the Big O and what the general public is probably not fully aware surrounding our friends at the USDA.

FACT  or FICTION? : The top foods you should buy when buying organic are milk, meats, produce, and grains.


Organic is a lifestyle. PERIOD. Much like dieting, smoking, drinking, whatever your vice, choosing to purchase USDA Certified Organic foods is a LIFESTYLE choice. Suggesting to buy specific items is sheer bullshit. However, you can find a fantastic list of items that are believed to be the dirtiest (riddled with pesticides and considered high on the GMO list) in your produce section on this article by CNN and you can also read it on the great not for profit site. Furthermore, take a good look at organic and standard produce. If you love your California avocados and are willing to buy them at 2 for $1.00 when in season, by all means. But don’t stray away from your organic either. Take a gander, are the prices comparable? If so, then the investment is worth the small price difference.  But if the price difference is rather considerable, then hold off until the item is in season or buy standard. Again a pure choice. Organic is reasonably priced due to the fact that the items are harvested when they are in season, much like when your flowers bloom and based on the location of the farm with the season. When in doubt though, buy US produce as the cost will be a bit less due to the fact less travel was associated with the delivery.

FACT or FICTION: Milk should always be bought organic because of all the hormones?


Again a matter of lifestyle. However, many dairy farmers are pushing that they are not using hormones or are hormone free because of the startling study found by researchers that these hormones are being carried into more than just milk. But into our bodies and our children which is believed to induce premature puberty in young girls and androgyny in some of our boys. Furthermore, with the recent events in Japan, be wary of your “California Cows” or those from the Pacific area since radiation is first found in milk of cows from the grass they eat….that goes for Organic too. Moooo-ve on over Pacific and Pacific Northwest.

FACT or FICTION? : There is only one organic.


The truth of the matter is that everything is organic. *gasp! Yes, we are all “organic” material, made of matter and the like. CERTIFIED Organic, the big green you see above, is delegated into several different categories and let me just paint the picture so you understand how each applies to just a few of the different delegations of the “organic” umbrella:

  • Certified Organic – this can be QAI and USDA certified. Both of these require rigorous and in depth investigation of the farms, the product, the water source, the cleanliness, the soil testing. Not a stone goes unturned in these certifications. However, the USDA is rather more intense requiring a farm to be clean for a minimum of five years during review. The soil, water, produce, the entire farm is tested to make sure it is clean of pesticides, hormones and additives. A farm generally has to be clean longer than this time in order for the life cycle of pesticides to die off, if they ever. Furthermore, rigorous maintenance and fees are applied for being USDA certified. Not to mention the handling on these farms is not your standard handling which is why the costs may be realized to be higher. But you are what you eat right?
  • Heirloom – I could live and breathe heirloom if allowed. Heirloom is exactly what it sounds like. These are seeds and produce passed down from generations. You will see a good portion of EU (European Union) countries have heirloom produce. Native Americans here in North America have heirloom seeds and produce. Heirloom produce is open pollinated and are a hybrid. By hybrid, these seeds have naturally cross pollinated and albeit evolved through the ages. They are generally pesticide free and are not what a layman may consider a perennial or annual. These beauties are tasty, gorgeous, and unique all their own. What people do not realize is that seed producers and sellers generate seeds that only germinate once or maybe more but after that the fruit/produce becomes bitter due to the genetic engineering of these items. Which makes heirlooms all the more in demand.
  • Organic – just about anything can be called organic. It just cannot be called “certified” or you start getting into an ugly marketing and disclosure issue with the feds. Organic is a way of farming, period, and again everything is organic matter/material. So items can be considered under the “organic” umbrella in a range anywhere from 70 to 99% organic depending upon the ingredients and the way the ingredients are grown. However, in order to slap the old green seal of approval onto the foods you eat, those foods must have passed the rigorous testing of the USDA and the Organic Program which certifies that the farm is still an active clean farm from the water, the soil and the environment in which it operates. See all my aforementioned regarding the cleanliness of these farms and you can find more at the USDA Organic site.

Just know that Organic truly is a lifestyle. No one will look down their nose at you for the food choices you make, and if they do, well maybe they ought to look at their own lives before passing judgement on yours. Life is all about choices and as parents we try to make the best choices we can in life and as long as you can say you are doing what you can for your children and they are healthy, happy, productive people then what else can we ask for as parents. Like Kermit the Frog always said, “It’s not easy, being green.” Nor is life easy as a parent, when we brought our special packages home we were never given a manual for handling them, so we make our own rules and manual up as we go along all the while learning from our mistakes, because if we were all perfect, we would never know to learn.

4 Replies to “Not easy being Green”

  1. This is all so very true!

    I’m glad someone has taken the time to write out and explain these things-Organic IS better for you in the long run, but there are people who just don’t want to go organic, or simply can’t. Whatever the reason, my life is my life and theirs is theirs-I have no right to pass judgment.

    1. Kayla, there is SOOOO much to the organic. People think it is cut and dry and to the point but there are so many rules, regulations and details. Free Trade is a huge part of this too as Free Trade Certified Organic supports developing nations, countries, and areas of the world that are looking to improve themselves and their financial condition. But all in all organic is definitely a way of life. 😉

  2. Thanks for explaining all of the details, Karie. The only thing I’ve ever heard of heirloom being has been tomatoes. The best grocers that have a large selection of organic items around here are way across town which makes it rather difficult to get a lot of goods. However, farmers markets are springing up all over the place. I’m going to be checking them out really soon.

    1. Jenine, heirloom is everywhere! Especially on reservations as Native Americans have not had their seeds and blooms modified or altered in any way and they have been passed on for generations and generations. Heirloom is also HUGE in Europe as Europe and the EU did not allow GMO’s or any sort of harsh pesticides. The farmers markets are fabulous, but be wary of the farmer who still uses Roundup. My farmer here….love his farm, he uses he weeds to his advantage to shade his crops in the summer.

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