By Anna Mansouri
Confused by organic versus sustainable produce? Let’s break it down.
In a nutshell: organic produce has to be farmed organically throughout the whole process (i.e. using organic fertilizer, isn’t treated with pesticides and doesn’t use genetically-modified seeds). Organic meats come from animals fed on organic produce and aren’t treated with antibiotics or hormones. Meanwhile, sustainable produce is produce that is locally grown while using resources wisely.
Eating organic produce is the healthiest option for us as individuals and eating sustainable produce is the healthiest option for us as a community, since it helps our local economy and global environment.
For example, we can often find two kinds of avocados in our local grocery stores: those that are grown internationally and imported (often from the US) and those that are grown locally and tend to cost a fourth of the imported ones. Buying local saves money, supports our local economy and supports a reduction of the fossil fuel consumption required to bring international goods to our local stores. So, buying local is a more sustainable choice.
In Sharqiya I’ve found one farm, Al Buti Farms, that’s local, sustainable and also certified as organic by both the Ministry of Agriculture and an international company overseas.
For a good example of a sustainable local farm, Nidal farms are also in Sharqiya and they use non-GMO seeds and no pesticides. They’re impressively sustainable because they are a leading farm in the country for using advanced water conservation methods of farming, but they’re not organic because, even though they use non-GMO seeds and no pesticides, they don’t use organic fertilizer. Still, they are an excellent farm to support and buy from.
Organic standards are very strict worldwide and are hard to meet, so sustainability is often the best we can hope for and sometimes organic is not sustainable. This means we either support our local communities or organic communities internationally.
Personally I use both Al Buti and Nidal farms for my produce, depending on my needs. I believe in supporting our local farms as much as possible, especially when these farms support the environment, because it supports our local economies, farmers, sustainability principles and organic standards. We cannot live in isolation, nor do we want to. Buying local produce is often a win-win for a community and what is best for all is often best for the individual.
Nidal Farms: +966-539411187
Al Buti: +966-546446108