Let's stick together
Francesca Price - 09 September 2011
I was a bit of late starter on the organic thing - for most of my life I managed to consume an appalling selection of fats, chemicals and toxins without giving it much of a second thought. And then I had kids and in that time honoured tradition, my world was changed forever. After diligently breastfeeding them all for the required time the thought of putting anything but the purest of fruit and vegetables into their little bodies filled me with horror. So overnight I became an organic missionary. Everything had to be organic. I even took a bag of organic fruit and vegetables to Ireland on holiday - just in case their food didn’t come up to scratch. (It wasn’t the best way to win over my new in-laws!)
It took me a few years to start connecting the dots and realising there was little point in feeding my children a seamless diet of organic food if I wasn’t also looking after the planet they were growing up in. So I started to see organic in a wider perspective - as a way of protecting the environment my kids lived in as much as a way of keeping their bodies healthy. Now, we grow some of our own food in a village allotment but I feel my role as a consumer is still an important one. Buying organic enables farmers and retailers to carry on investing in organic produce. It’s not just a personal choice I am making but a political statement - which certainly spices up the grocery shopping!
Of course, consuming a largely organic diet is not the cheapest way to feed children but neither is it as expensive as many people think. We buy mostly seasonal fruit and vegetables which can weigh in around the same price as non-organic. It might mean a glut of certain foods at any one time but a bit of imagination helps - I can now hide courgettes in everything from fritters to chocolate cake! If we stretch to buying an organic chicken, I make damn sure we use every last bit of it, turning leftovers into chicken pie and the bones into soup. An activity that surely takes no more time than having to stop at the shops to get another meal. I don’t buy expensive organic treats or many imported goods as we live in valley of farms and orchards and can source a lot our food locally. When we first moved in, I asked the butcher (somewhat suspiciously) where his lamb came from. He pointed out the window and said "You see that field over there..."
My girls are now 9, 7 and 2 and I remain convinced that by feeding them a largely organic diet, I am making a good investment. I see their bodies growing healthy and strong and their interest in food and where it comes from. My oldest is now a proficient cook and will make soup or a cake without any direction from me. (Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the clearing up!). Like all mothers I hope that they will achieve great things but in a world of dwindling resources and increasing diet-related health issues, I feel a basic knowledge of food and how it impacts on our lives is as good a life skill as any I can pass on. I will continue to blog through September with any tidbits or advice from a family point of view. If you’ve got any comments, please post them. We organic mothers need to stick together!
Francesca Price is a environmental journalist and mother of three girls. She lives in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol.
10 September 2011 11:16
Thank you describing your organic journey - and it is a journey, isn't it?I dream of the day that it's pesticide-sprayed food that is certified...and organic food is just normal and everyday and available for all.
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