The following appears in the October/November edition of Organic Gardening magazine. For great gardening, cooking, and living tips, pick the issue up today!
What if you had infinite power to change the world for the better? What if I told you that you did? Would you believe it? Well, we are headed toward the holiday season, when stories of miracles abound, so bear with me while I explain how you can make the world better right now. All you have to do is believe and then act on that belief.
Seventy or so years ago when Organic Gardening magazine was launched, not many people knew what the organic movement was all about. Many who did know laughed and scoffed. But now it's official. It's real and it's spreading and growing like a magic garden, changing the world for the better wherever an organic garden or farm is planted. The growth of the organic movement didn't happen through government action; it evolved as more people accepted and adopted a social and physical ecosystem of logic, wisdom, and belief.
The magic now extends beyond our backyard gardens and local farming, right to the clothes we wear; the products we use for health, beauty, and food preparation; and even the goods we use to set our tables. How and where these are made, who makes them, what they're made from, and how they are packaged can either create a better world or make it worse. For example, cotton and wood are "farm crops," too. And cotton farmed conventionally is one of the most toxic field crops ever grown, which makes it even more important to buy organic cotton when possible. Sustainable production, too, can save lives: Garment factories in developing countries can be death traps for the often-underpaid work force, and exist that way so we can buy cheap clothes.
In short, our purchase decisions are a reflection of our values and beliefs. We can excuse our culture's appetite for cheap goods by supporting charities, but wouldn't true charity come from spending money up front to prevent problems in the first place? Think about it: Paying a fair price enables a company to pay a fair wage, which relieves poverty and hunger. Buying organic food lessens environmental degradation and health crises. Avoiding cheap plastic products and packaging counters everything from diabetes and obesity to floating islands of plastic trash in the middle of the ocean. Buying from artisanal producers and craftsmen is an investment in quality and the preservation of age-old skills that we all lament as disappearing.
That's why instead of launching a magazine like my grandfather did, I launched a store, Rodales.com, where we sell only goods that do no harm. Our team of experts is diligent in sourcing verifiably organic and sustainable products to ensure they reflect the beliefs we all share: That nature is to be respected, not destroyed; that we all aspire to health, healing, and happiness, no matter where we are born or what we do for a living; and that positive, wonderful change is possible -- individually and collectively.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.