The Organic Consumer

Practical Information, Resources, Products and Services for the Cost-Conscious Organic Consumer

What is the Best Organic Food and Where to Buy it!

Just click on the buttons at left for information about organic foods that you can purchase at grocery stores, restaurants and farm markets.  

What is organic food?

Organic foods are foods grown or raised by farmers and ranchers who emphasize the use of renewable resources; avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides and use practices that conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.   Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Oddly, they are often fed composted chicken manure- that meets the definition of "organic", but we at TheOrganicConsumer do not believe that is a sound practice!   Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

Is organic food better for me and my family?

Organic food differs from conventionally produced food in the way it is grown, handled, and processed. Common sense tells us that foods that have fewer pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics will tend to be safer and healthier.  While the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has an organic certification program and regulations, the USDA makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food. For more detailed information on the USDA organic standards, visit the USDA NOP web site  call the National Organic Program at 202-720-3252, or write USDA-AMS-TM-NOP, Room 4008 S. Bldg., Ag Stop 0268, 1400 Independence, SW, Washington, DC 20250.Organic food labeling is a market-driven, certification-based process. However, the term "organic" alone does not encompass all concerns. There are other terms, some with specific and useful meanings, others that are marketing terms that are effectively meaningless.

The term "natural" is also often used to describe food products. "Natural" and "organic" are not interchangeable. Natural is usually taken to mean "raised without artificial chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics", but since there is no standardized definition, regulation or enforcement; it can literally mean anything the manufacturer or farmer wants it to me, so beware!

Other terms, such as free-range, hormone-free, can also appear on food labels. However, don't confuse these terms with "organic." Only food labeled "organic" has been certified as meeting USDA organic standards. See this page of food definitions!


The organic foods movement grew throughout the 1980's but didn't gainer wider acceptance until the late 1990's.  As the consequences of food production practices that introduced compounds into the food cycle that were not present in nature became apparent (See BSE / CJK - Mad Cow Disease, Alar scares in apples, and many others), the public began to gradually move toward organic foods.   As this was occurring, retail prices for organic foods began to fall.

Now, organic foods have moved out of the niche and into the mainstream, as Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart and other "big box" stores offer more organic products, at lower prices, every month.

Restaurants a lagging behind, but starting to move in the same direction. Starting with healthier choices, such as more salads being offered as a substitution for French fries, we expect organic foods to be next.

Since there still is a price differential between organic foods and non-organic, which ones make the most sense, for health, and for their cost?  Where are organic foods are available? If you can afford organic milk or organic beef, but not both, which should you buy?

We will provide the answers to many questions like these on the pages following!

Summary: what to do








Summary: what to do


The Organic Consumer

Last modified: 30-Jan-2009

Somewhere between living like a caveman and living like a chemist, there's the organic consumer!
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 Common sense applied to organic living!