A few bloggers went to Stonyfield Farms in Vermont at the end of June to learn about organic farming, visit dairy farms, and bring back lots of info for their readers to teach us about organic vs. non-organic, how dairy farms are structured organic vs. conventional, and how our foods get from a cow to our grocery stores. Check out some of their posts here and here. It was very educational!
After reading their very detailed and easy to understand posts with lots of pictures, pairing it with my knowledge from Michael Pollan’s books (In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma), and watching Food Inc. and being alarmed from what I learned, I feel more knowledgeable about organic farming, understand the importance of buying local or organic, and will make an effort to think about these things before I buy. (did you realize that was all one sentence?!)
I’m not going to swear off of non-organic foods, or boycott conventional farming, but it’s good to learn about things you eat everyday, like meat, milk, and yogurt. We all know that organics are more expensive than non-organics, but the posts from Tina and Anne show the costs associated with producing organic foods and managing an organic farm, lets us understand where the costs come from, and makes me justify spending more on organics and understanding why the costs are higher.
What’s your opinion of organic vs. conventional, and did it change from reading the books mentioned, seeing Food, Inc. or reading their posts?
A few things I learned from their trip:
–There is a 3 year transition for a farm to become organic
–Animals cannot be treated with any antibiotics if they get sick. If they need drugs, they must be removed from the herd and can’t be used for organic milking.
–A cow has to be fed and treated organically for 12 months before their milk can be sold as organic.
–I hadn’t really thought about transporting products and the costs and environmental impact they take into consideration. Or about making the facilities sustainable in their waste and solar energy production.
–Conventional cow life expectancy is 4 years, and organic cows are 10 years.
–Greek yogurt, like my favorite Oikos by Stonyfield, is produced at a different facility because the process is different, and it has three times as much milk (hence all the protein!).