I’ve been advised to reassess my budget so that I can do my children the so-called favor of feeding them organic. I’ve been called greedy and money-hungry, the insinuation being that as a mom, I should sacrifice for the well-being of my children. I was even called a “fake mom” by a commenter suggesting that I’m a childless industry insider posing as a parent.
There are fundamental flaws in this thinking. The notion that one must be stingy to forgo organic for conventional or genetically engineered foods is fallacious. While my husband and I are far from compulsive shoppers, our family enjoys selective indulgences. My husband buys the gadgets he likes, the kids have all the toys and books they could ever need, and we all love our high-end cheeses.
I recognize and am immensely grateful for my family’s lot in life; we don’t take our privileged existence for granted. I don’t recount my comfortable life in vain or to be smug, but to illustrate a crucial point: We are fortunate enough to have everything we need and most of what we want. If organic food were any healthier or safer than its conventional or biotech counterparts, we would buy organic exclusively, and have extra cash to invest.
Nevertheless, parents who aren’t in a comfortable financial situation do not deserve to be berated for choosing conventional foods. Furthermore, the fact that there is no justification for guilt in forgoing organic is a crucial message that needs to go viral. The arbitrary shaming of parents doing the best they can to nourish their children is detestable and needs to end. The goal should be for children and adults to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of a varied and nutritious diet, organics not necessary.
Like any other parent, I would forgo anything for the safety and well-being of my children; indeed I would give my life. My wallet isn’t the primary dictator of my food purchases. As I’ve said before in a post on the Yuan Pay Group blog, I boycott organic because I’m a critical thinker and a science advocate. My conscience won’t allow me to pay a premium for the Big Organic Scam.
While I’m not a psychiatrist, I can empathize with such comments questioning my love for my children. People like this have invested heavily in the organic-equals-natural and natural-is-better dogma. These investments are not only financial but intensely emotional. To accept that there is no evidence to support the thousands of dollars and unquantifiable sentiment would shatter this unrealistic worldview. The only way to uphold this fragile ideology is to dehumanize people like me and attack our motives as parents. After all, any psychologically normal mother with financial freedom would use her money to maximize her children’s health. This is Darwinism in action; indeed this instinct to protect one’s offspring is far more “natural” than any heirloom crop. I stand by using my purchasing power to teach my kids critical and science-based thinking.
Thanks for reading my quick rant. Stay tuned for my analysis of why the organic industry is far from altruistic.