The Great Avocado Dilemma!
At goodfood2u we are committed to local, organic and fair trade agriculture. We do this because of our desire to ensure that our consumption does not negatively impact the land, water or people who produce what we consume. We believe that we each have a role to leave our fragile planet a little better than we found it.
Our journey to eating organic and local started when we lived in Northern Ghana, West Africa between 1999-2002. The town we lived in was in the Savannah, an arid and dry land area that is slowly becoming drier and harder to grow sustenance crops on year round.
As we travelled north into Burkina Faso and Mali, we could see how the affects of climate change had an even greater impact on peoples living. Rural land based communities that depended on farming for their daily food, could no longer grow sufficient food during the ever shortening rainy season to feed their families for the full year. Malnutrition and hunger were now issues in communities that used to be able to feed themselves with their farmed goods year round.
A recent study by the Rodale Institute found that, if all conventional agricultural land started using organic farming practices, such as mulch tilling and seasonal crop rotations, agriculture, could capture more greenhouse gas emissions. The study also found that organic farms have lower greenhouse emissions than conventional farms.
So in an ideal world we would buy from local organic farms and then all would be well. Except, we know, for ourselves and for our customers that variety and diversity is important, and we know that we all don’t love eating only root vegetables all winter. So, we do offer imported produce that is certified organic.
Over the past year we have struggled with one crop, a popular one: avocados. Consistently we find we cannot get good quality organic avocados (you know what I mean. Ones that are stringy, with brown spots, or all together rotten). At first, we thought it was us, our storage or something. But even when we’d buy organic avocados from other stores we’d have the same problem.
So, we have a confession: we started buying conventional avocados for our personal consumption. We love a bit of avocado in our salads, or some guacamole with our tacos. And consistently we find conventional avocados do not have the quality issue that organic avocados do. Sigh…
We have asked around, and other committed organic consumers feel the same way. So this leads us to ask ourselves: should we offer our customers the option of non-organic avocados?
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) fewer than 1 percent of conventional avocados tested positive for pesticides. The EWG names Avocados as the #1 produce item on the Clean 15.
We believe strongly that organic agriculture is not just about our personal health, but also about the health of the soil, water, air and people who grow our food. So organic would be preferable, and fair trade and organic even better. However, shipping organic avocados from Mexico to Canada, to Ottawa and then to your home, only to find them not edible is incredibly wasteful and has large environmental impacts too.
So, as of next week we will start offering conventional avocados as part of our offer, we will never put them in your box, they will simply be available for you to add to your order. And we will clearly mark them as non-organic. We will also store them aside from organic produce. And we will continue to work to find organic and hopefully fair trade avocados that aren’t just fodder for our compost bins.
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