I don’t drink water, because fish piss in them

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Today’s catchy, but rather nonsensical post title is brought to you by The Gruen Transfer, a hilarious and insightful show about everything marketing and how it works on us. It’s aired on the Australian Network channel every Wednesday and if you are subscribers to Unifi in Malaysia, you should be able to watch it on your (not-so) Hypp TV.

Awareness on the origins of our food is important. Where it is grown, the process that it has to go through before it is ready for consumption, and the distance it has to travel before reaching our plates. Having these knowledge not only means you are an informed consumer but also a responsible one.

Berries Free PhotoPhoto courtesy of Stockvault.net

Sure, it is easy to talk about the benefits of going organic. Less pesticide, less chemicals, and more natural state of production that leads to a higher nutrient content delivered to your body when you consume it. But just because it is labelled organic, does not mean you’re a champion consumer saving mother nature from further environmental degradation. Have you ever thought about the distance these organic Californian apples had to travel before reaching your shopping basket? And not to mention, the ridonkolous price tags these organic items sometimes come with. If sustainability is one of the reason you chose to go organic, think about how sustainable you will be once you are broke at the end of month (20 ringgit for ONE apple? c’mon seriously?) and once all the petrol in this world has run dry.

In all seriousness though, I am  elated to witness the growing awareness of Malaysian consumers towards organic produce, and paraben-free products. And even more so when I see a whole row of fresh vegetables, organically grown locally and attractively packaged to compete equally with its international counterparts. In fact, buying organic fresh produce has its plus points – you know that it is that much fresher than the one that is flown in from other parts of the world. And if you ever are curious if these people really know their organic farming, the option of paying these local farms a visit is always there. The availability of organic produce, natural and paraben-free products in the Malaysian market has been great. And the very fact that it is a growing market, is a reason to celebrate in itself.

But..

Before you choose between the Italian organic pasta from the locally produced option,

think about the distance that one package of fussili pasta has to travel, from a little town in Italy..

on a plane to Malaysia..

and perhaps a number of trucks and vans before it reaches your local Village Grocer supermarket.

And obviously, it is not always possible to buy everything local. At some point, we would have to admit this and settle for imported goods. But in doing so, and with all other things being equal (i.e. quality & taste) let’s try to base our choices on the least distance traveled before reaching your shopping baskets. And if Geography was not your best subject back in high school, that means yes, Australia & New Zealand fruits and produce over other areas like Argentina and the USA.

Of course, if the option of growing your own food is available and you have the natural green thumbs to grow some, by all means -embrace it. Growing your own food is like cooking your own food. You know exactly what goes into it. A really awesome book that inspired me to think of such possibilities is written by Barbara Kingsolver called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of food life. 

Before I end this entry, here is a thoughtful quote to send you off with on your next trip to the supermarket –

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are”
-Adele Davis

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2 responses »

  1. your organic food example was quite interesting, i guess we never consider those things on a daily basis and just go with the “its natural and organic” blah blah part, growing your own food is also time consuming, guess some of us have to settle with packed fat-filled goods.

    • You don’t have to settle for packed fat-filled goods to eat healthy and still minimize your carbon footprint. There are many options in supermarkets these days that provide both organic and locally produced goods for consumption at a price that is comparably and if not cheaper then the non-organic items.

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