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September 19-27 is Canada’s National Organic Week. A week aimed at raising awareness of buying organic food and products, and of course, organic farming. Buying organic comes with it’s challenges for many, including concerns about cost and about what or what not to buy organic.

There are many reasons to shop organic such as lower exposure to pesticides, better taste and increased nutritional value. Organic food and food products are also not genetically engineered or non-GMO. Organic farming is better for our soil, water and environment, and better for our farmers and their children, by decreasing their exposure to harmful chemicals. However, often deciding what to purchase organic can be overwhelming.

Each year, The Environmental Working Groups publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The guide lists the 12 foods most contaminated with pesticide residues and the 15 least contaminated foods. When shopping, consider buying foods with the greatest pesticide exposure, or the Dirty Dozen, organic if available. On the other hand, it is safe to buy conventionally grown food that has the least amount of pesticide residue, or the Clean Fifteen.

Here is the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen list for your reference.

Dirty Dozen

  • apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers
  • Recently added to the list includes hot peppers and kale/collard greens

Clean Fifteen

  • asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, pineapples, sweet corn, sweet peas and sweet potatoes

For your own copy of the guide and additional information, please visit The Environmental Group Website at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.

Of course, when given the choice, I am all for shopping for local and seasonal produce, especially during the summer months when so much is available. Although there are several farmer’s markets around the city that offer local and organic products, there are also low spray or no-spray options when organic is not available. Shopping at the local markets also cuts down on cost while providing the freshest produce farmers have to offer!

For additional information and events on National Organic Week, please visit http://organicweek.ca.

Well, that is all for now and I certainly hope I helped you decide what to buy or not buy organic.

Linda @ The Wholesome Kitchen