Below is a blog of mine featured on SocialYell’s blog.

If you tuned into SocialYell last week, you got a primer on fauxganics.  At its most basic level, organic foods, particularly whole foods (those that come right off the vine, branch, etc.), may not be as pure as you think.  Prepare to get even more befuddled.

Slide a few aisles down in the supermarket and hit processed foods – for the purposes of this post, anything that isn’t a whole food (see aforementioned definition).  From crackers to frozen meals and everything in between, there is a seemingly endless variety of organic foods.

There are many reputable organic food manufacturers out there.  Keep in mind it’s also a growing industry which forces competition… and adherence to rules, but perhaps only the specific rules laid out to attain organic certification (through myriad certifying entities).  So, your picture of what is organic may not be an entirely full picture.

Consider this, from an LA Times article, USDA Organics Label Comes Under Fire:

Grated organic cheese, for example, contains wood starch to prevent clumping. Organic beer can be made from non-organic hops.

True organics are better for you and the earth and are better tasting.  We need to vote with our forks and purchase foods that are sustainably produced.  Take few extra minutes to be sure what you are eating really is organic and not fauxganic.  How do you do that?  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. READ – Flip the package over and take a quick scan of the ingredients.  You may be surprised at what is actually in those crackers you are about to buy.  The list starts of with organic ingredients, but there could be other (very hard to pronounce) ingredients as well.
  2. GET IN THE KITCHEN – Start with organic whole foods that are locally grown.  Starting from fresh ingredients that you put together is the best way to ensure you are eating the freshest food.
  3. BE EDUCATED – Take steps like you are right now, reading blog posts, articles, and books.  Spend some of the time that you might be educating yourself on the latest tech gadget, on what you are putting in your body.
  4. CONNECT – Connect with local farmers.  Find a farmers market or buy into a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Surrounding yourself with like minded individuals will help you understand the food you are buying and eating.
  5. FIND Sustainable farms on SocialYell.  If you know of a great, local organic farm, add it!

Meghan Nesta is a sustainability and social media nut residing in the Philadelphia, PA metro area and loves to connect with other greenies on twitter.