Sunday, June 29, 2008

Eating by the numbers

Just about every piece of commercial produce you find in the supermarket now has a little sticker on it. It tells you what you bought, the name and origin of the fruit or vegetable and some numbers. It's meant to give the checker information to weigh and price your purchase, but you can learn useful information from the numbers.

4 digits: you have conventional produce, grown with the best "better living through chemistry" tradition. That may mean agribusiness, pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers. (Remember, cide comes from the Latin root, to kill.) Or it may mean any scenario short of organic.

8 + four digits: GMO! High-tech manipulation seeking world domination...and should we eat them? Is it good for us? Is it good for the butterflies and bees, or good for Monsanto and friends? Have you seen any 8's in the stores?

9 + four digits: Organically grown produce, thank you. Not only are they free of added toxins, organics are usually better tasting, have higher nutrient values and support fertility -- and that's just for the consumer. For the environment, a lighter load and a positive enhancement.

You aren't likely to see these stickers if you buy locally grown food. Talk to the farmers and the merchants to learn more about how the food is grown. Make your choices. As for me, I prefer organic!