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To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food Paperback – March 2, 2007


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To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food + Organic Manifesto: How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569242682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569242681
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A slim, handy guide to how our food is produced and how to choose what to buy." -- Culinate.com, 6/8/07

I've been hesitant to question the organic label because it offers such an easy answer, and I've worried that if I begin to tug on that string, pretty soon my whole natural fiber sweater will be unraveled and I won't have a dominant food doctrine to blindly follow...Burke, who is a journalist and former chef, seeks to answer that question by delving into the politics behind the certified organic label and by defining terms, such as organic, local, sustainable and grass-fed. -- Liz Kohman, "The Versatile Vegetarian: Got questions about 'organic'? Book offers answers", The Courier News

About the Author

Cindy Burke is the coauthor, with Kim Severson (now the New York Times's high-profile food reporter), of The Trans-Fat Solution. She writes often about food, organic farming, and nutrition for numerous publications. She studied at the school for American Chefs in Northern California's Napa Valley, before working as a chef and food consultant. She lives with her family in Seattle, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

This book was very helpful and informative!
gilenh20
This book is very helpful in figuring out when to buy organic, non-organic and/or local.
Katelyn
Excellent book and highly recommended for the experienced organic grower.
Jill Wiest

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Gingersnap on March 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book answered all the questions I had about buying or not buying organic foods. I realized that I wasn't even sure what "organic" meant, and I certainly didn't know anything about the politics of organic farming. Ms Burke really knows her stuff and presents the facts clearly and well. (Of course, I would expect this from her, as I read a book that she co-authored entitled The Trans Fat Solution, which cleared up that whole transfat thing for me.)

Particularly valuable is the chapter entitled "The Dirty Dozen" - the 12 foods to eat only if they're organic. Strawberries topped that list, and potatoes, especially russets, also showed up. This is balanced by "The Clean Fifteen," fruits and vegetables that consistently test negative for pesticide residue. Happily, avocados and blueberries show up on that list. Then there's The Shopping Guide - priceless!

This book is a treasure trove of information, and a MUST READ for everyone who cares about making healthy food choices while keeping sustainable farming in mind. As I said - awesome!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By NotAGreenFreak on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I received this as a gift, I did not expect to read the entire book (ok, I admit - any of it) about organic foods in one sitting. However, Burke has written an extremely interesting and helpful guide on exactly what to buy organic (the dirty dozen), what not to buy (the clean fifteen), and why. She also enlightens us on the erosion of the "Organic" standards caused by government lobbying by powerful supermarket/food corporations (think, Nestle and Coca-Cola).

Read this if you want to know whether its worth it (or even safe) to buy organics at your local supermarket, and if not, where to get them.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Crystal on June 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a GREAT book! I learned so much from the author. She really did her homework and knows her stuff. This book inspired me to take the complete jump into organic living w/o fretting the grocery bill cost. She makes sense when she discusses this bill versus the health of your family and health costs. I don't even care anymore about the grocery bill because I know I'm making the most informed and healthy choices for my family. She has also inspired me to be more "green" and not just buy organic, but think about buying sustainable foods and at local farmer's markets. Never really grasped that concept and reasoning until now. Thanks so much!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By buyo on April 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Because I haven't been able to grow a garden of late, I'm forced to shop for most of my groceries. What I wanted to know is what I should buy or not buy. The author answers this perfectly and efficiently with a list in the latter part of the book, stating the produce in question, buy organic or not, and the reasons why.

What surprised me was that she also talks about how FAR food frequently travels and the carbon cost as a result. Is it worth buying organic if it's traveled across the ocean? While I understood this before, her book has made scrutinize this aspect of my food purchases even harder than before.

The book was an easy read but I admit to glossing over some of the talk about why you should eat organic or buy locally. What I wanted was precise information to help make my shopping more effective. I got exactly that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By fillygene on August 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for anyone who shops for food. The lists in it are especially helpful for people who do not want to or who do not have the time to focus on page after page of intense reading. It is also helpful for people who cannot afford to buy all items organically grown.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heather W. Thomas on May 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book literally changed the way that I will feed myself and my family for a lifetime. I always assumed our food was safe and that the FDA was looking out for me and my children - not trying to poison them. For us, it will only be organic or locally grown food that I know what's going on it or in it as the case may be.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The busiest suby on January 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book's little stories from farmers more than anything. I like that it's not your typical alarmist book, that it's not preachy and elitest. It gives you enough information that leaves you concerned and questioning your food, but not screaming about armageddon in the farm fields! The chart in the back was helpful in figuring out where you don't want to compromise and where you have wiggle room. I recommend it to people who are curious about organics.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jill Wiest on December 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a 15-year organic gardening veteran and seeing more and more organic products in the grocery store had me curious -- where did it come from and is it truly organic. Is it worth it to pay more for organic than non-organic. This book is for every individual who wanted those same questions answered. As an example, garlic is often used as a companion plant (for me it was with roses) to deter aphids. So obviously garlic isn't going to have pests on it, thus, little pesticide use, thus no need to spend the money on organic garlic. The author lists many, many foods that you should or should not buy organic, provides interesting stories from organic farmers, and also goes into exactly what is organic. The part that really sold me is how organic certification has become yet another piece of bureaucratic red-tape and even the big boys are jumping on the band wagon -- at a price to the smaller, local farmers (undercutting their prices). But the USDA organic standards are stretched by agribusiness - so beware when purchasing "organic" from a large company. Not to mention the costs to the environment by agribusiness. Excellent book and highly recommended for the experienced organic grower.
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