A recent article1 providing advice on nutrition encouraged readers to “limit your exposure to pesticides by choosing organic and locally grown foods when possible.” The article goes on to explain why pesticides and nitrates (an ingredient in artificial fertilizer) should be avoided.
The writer’s intent is not clear to me. While she may have meant to advise choosing foods that are both organic and local, her subsequent explanation only addressed pesticide and fertilizer exposure and therefore did not support that argument.
If your goal is to reduce such exposure, your best bet is to eat organic foods. Period. End of sentence. If you can find foods that are both organic and locally produced, and locally produced is important to you, then by all means, select those. However, selecting conventionally, albeit locally, produced food does nothing to reduce your exposure. The “local” label does not guarantee that your food is organically produced or is better for you. You are certainly better off, and I would argue that the environment is better off, if you purchase organic fruits and vegetables from half-way around the world instead of a pesticide-ridden fruit or vegetable from your local farmer.
1“Tell Me What to Eat.” Fit Pregnancy, Oct/Nov 2011: 88