This week, Jacquie Berger of JUST FOOD, one of my favorite non-profits in New York City that supports LOCAVORISM and specifically community supported agriculture and urban farming answered questions about Just Food's work on the New York Times' City Room Blog.
Over 50 locavore-loving urbanites asked questions (including me) about urban chicken farming and beekeeping, food politics and food safety, local and organic food, community gardens, community supported agriculture, composting, NYC School Food, food pantries and other emergency food. There's even a post on Alice Waters and the White House garden (see my post on the White House Garden here). Jacquie provided the answers on the site in three sets over three days (I helped edit set 1).
Check out the City Room's "Ask About Local Food Section" and click on the answer set 3 for my question (reprinted below) and her thoughtful answer. Also check out answer sets 1 and 2.
Here's what I wrote on the New York Times CITY ROOM BLOG:
It’s so wonderful that you are writing for CITY ROOM on the great work you, the staff and volunteers do at JUST FOOD!
My Question: How does JUST FOOD address the organic versus local debate for its CSAs and community gardens as not all the food produced by the CSAs is “certified organic”?
I know a lot of people (myself included) continually debate whether it’s better for our health and the environment to buy organically grown food that’s shipped from say California and which has a big carbon footprint or to buy locally grown produce that may not be labeled “organic” but is grown on a nearby farm that uses “sustainable” farming practices (e.g., low spray fruit). and travels a short distance from farm to market.
I’ve opted to eat more local foods, even if they are not labeled “organic”, as a way to not only eat really well but also preserve NY area farmland and support small businesses. I personally feel that eating local is better for me and for society but it’s a conundrum as I know the local farmers sometimes need to use pesticides on their crops (or risk losing the whole crop) . For example, my JUST FOOD CSA, Chubby Bunny sells “low spray” fruit shares and organic veggie shares. I prefer their amazing low-spray fruit versus obscenely overpriced organic berries shipped from California any day of the week.