My Finances Afford Me Organic, My Conscience Doesn’t

I’ve written extensively about my pro-biotech and pro-GMO views. The idea that the weight of my wallet reigns supreme on my priority list has been a frequent accusation of late.

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.


Featured image credit

Kavin Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy is a mom of two, co-Executive Director of March Against Myths, public speaker, Forbes contributor and author in Madison, WI. She is also co-author of "The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari's Glass House". Follow her on Facebook and twitter @ksenapathy

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  1. This is probably the #1 thing that bugs me about organic – this suggestion that conventional foods are simply bad – nay, poison – and that by default organic is good and anyone who doesn’t buy it, is a bad parent. As a personal finance advisor and a parent, I find it mind boggling how much weight we have started putting on food in terms of importance to health. Sure, its important to eat good, nutritious food. That is a no-brainer. But its also important to get good sleep. To exercise. To reduce stress. The amount of people who seem to think that “eating clean/organic” is the silver bullet answer to all of life’s problems is scary. I wonder how the kids of some of the parents will feel down the line when mommy says “Sorry Junior! No money in the college, because we bought you organic kale!” or “Junior, mommy and daddy need to move in with you – we were so focused on being able to afford grass-fed beef that we didn’t contribute as much to our retirement fund”.

  2. How refreshing to find your site. Total agreement.

    We (American WASPs) were very poor when we raised our family of 9 children. I had very limited money for food but felt a well-balanced meal every night was important. I got this by serving a meat of some kind (usually tuna or chicken), something white (usually rice), and at least one canned vegetable, because canned was a lot cheaper than fresh. Forget frozen. 🙂 I never bought packaged prepared things (nor fancy cereals) because we could not afford them, but I never bought organic either, believe me. My kids were incredibly healthy. When they all moved out as adults, most bought into the organic/health food lifestyle and those who did now all have all kinds of allergies and other health issues. Is there some ironey here.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. I love you so much for writing this. I am just so frustrated by the anti-science nature of 99% of all parenting blogs and websites and books and EVERYWHERE where the culture is fear, fear, fear and no critical thinking.

    Is it creepy if I say I love you again? AAAHHHH I DON’T CARE I DOOOOOOO.

    So glad my friend sent me here!

  4. The additives almost killed me and my step daughter. Since ceasing GMO and MSG tainted food my headaches, migraines, seizures, strokes, IBS, ulcers, and gluten intolerance have subsided. I began eating organic in desperation when I could keep no other food in my system. It literally saved my life. For years I didn’t know what was in regular food that was making me sick, but something was. After years I finally built up a MSG free, GMO free diet. My step daughter had asthma that was so bad it almost killed her. Nearly everyday after eating school lunch we would have to transport her to the hospital. There were times we thought we would lose her. After a co-worker said MSG triggered her asthma, I started my daughter on my safe diet. Two weeks after eating a clean diet all asthma was gone. My husband was the last to get on the clean wagon, he had horrible acid reflux. He couldn’t even sleep laying down for fear of choking on his own acid. That to is gone. I don’t need scientist to tell me we were being poisoned.

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