"...But even as more Americans buy foods with the organic label, the products are increasingly removed from the traditional organic ideal: produce that is not only free of chemicals and pesticides but also grown locally on small farms in a way that protects the environment.
The explosive growth in the commercial cultivation of organic tomatoes here [Mexico's Baja Peninsula], for example, is putting stress on the water table. In some areas, wells have run dry this year, meaning that small subsistence farmers cannot grow crops. And the organic tomatoes end up in an energy-intensive global distribution chain that takes them as far as New York and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, producing significant emissions that contribute to global warming..."
December 31, 2011
The 'organic' fad may not be sustainable as demand for products year-round seems to be creating an environmental strain in those areas where factory-scale organic farms supply U.S. supermarkets.
I think 'organic' foods have not been demonstrated to provide health benefits that justify their high prices. Instead, 'organic' serves mostly as emotional comfort food for those who can afford it.
Buying local, however, makes more sense whether organic or not because the purchase provides direct support for local farmers who work hard to make ends meet.