It’s one thing to talk organic but quite another to suffer sticker shocks when you step inside organic grocery stores.
I thought of writing my own experience after talking to quite a few people. It became clear to me that almost all of them went through the same phase, weighed pros and cons and then made the switch. Not that I have found all the answers surrounding this subject, but through this series, I hope I will be able to put certain common doubts and fears to rest.
Let me first accept the fact that paying double, sometimes triple the amount for organic cereals, pulses, spices and oils isn’t going to be a simple, straightforward switchover. There’s also a concoction of doubts, logistical issues and other inconveniences that can foreground any possible logical thinking on going organic.
The most mind-boggling ones are:
- Dishonest middlemen in the entire supply chain. Who stops them from buying their supplies from regular stalls and sell them as organic? When they can sell their goods at 150-200% the regular price, what can possibly stop them from adding the regular non-organic stuff to their baskets? After all, rent is a big-ticket item. They have to do everything to stay afloat.
- Secondly, there is a big question mark on certification procedures. There is no single reputed agency that does certification at local level. Unless you are involved with certain organic groups and know the people behind organic ventures, it’s hard to trust just anybody who opens a store next door. Trust deficit is enormous. More so for perishable goods.
- Less serious, but still annoying enough is the non-availability of all the organic veggies you need under one roof. Trips to non-organic stores become inevitable. To remember what has been left out of the list and then buying it elsewhere is a pain. Above all these confusions, the last thing you want is something that prevents you from riding the routine as effortlessly as you can.
- And then there are other mundane rationalisations like this one: “Didn’t I survive eating the same non-organic food so far?”
A million questions would hit me hard and I would use all my intelligence to rationalise my decision to postpone what was already a foregone conclusion in the subconscious realm. But switchover had to happen. The sooner the better.
I had questions, quite a few of them actually as switchover became a collective decision in my family. At the end of the day, it all boils down to numbers. I thought of seeking answers without being influenced by anyone who has already gone organic. It called for some legwork, some reading and most important of all, meeting certain people who will answer all my questions without having that holier-than-thou look on their face.
I started visiting stores and talking to the owners. I am not sure if you will agree with me but when we talk organic, we tend to expect a greater degree of honesty and candour from the ones who act as an interface between the grower and the buyer. Among the people I have met, I found Panduranga of Sara Organic located in Sahakarnagar easy to talk to. He patiently answered all the queries and helped me clear some doubts especially on the “trust issue”. He not find my doubts unreasonable or misplaced. This is where, I thought, my organic journey should begin.
And, it did.
8 thoughts on “How I am going organic–1: About some doubts & trust issues”
What you say is true – even I have faced the same dilemma. Especially about trusting the organic store. I would regularly shop in a well-known organic chain and then find that many times the vegetables (organic or not) are rotten. ..this was a more basic reason for me to stop patronising that chain.
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Exactly, Ravindra… Who we meet and where we buy the food items from becomes extremely important. One annoying thing among a few of those who had already gone organic was ‘how could you come up with these questions?’ look on their face. For them, going organic meant simply endorsing all the products and trust what they sold. Dig a little deeper on where these veggies are coming from and since when these are farming organically, the vendors would not budge with information. That’s the reason I didn’t want to jump into it without my own research. It helped. 🙂
Hey Savita, Really happy to have read your blog on Going Organic 🙂 Good luck and you will soon experience the difference of having switched to organic. I have been organic for more than a year now. Thankfully in Whitefield, which is where I am located, I have got a handful of options and home delivery is a life saver. I get all my stuff from the Health Buddha Organic e-store, Lumiere Organic store and Nisarga organic shoppe. Like you have mentioned, it was a bit difficult to get all what you want under one roof, but a little extra planning and tweaking helped me a lot and so far so good, I say… It’s true that the organic options are more expensive, but i feel its a very low price to pay considering the ill-effects the pesticide laden stuff can do. ( they are killing you slowly)
Btw, I am sure you will find this interesting – Gautam & Anurag from Healthy Buddha organic store & Manjunath from Lumiere Organic stores are all ex- IT guys now full-fledged organic farmers / dealers. …Awesome transition, I say 🙂
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Dear Aiswarya, nice to read about your wonderful organic journey. You seem to have made the transition successfully. I hope to reach there soon as it’s been quite a few weeks since I started buying all things organic. As you rightly said, it IS a small price to pay considering the ill-effects of pesticides and the deadly aftermath. I never had doubts about the efficacy of anything “organic”, per se. It was all about the suppliers, the growers, etc. Pricing was something that did take some time to get used to. But when I began talking to the customers who visit organic stores, I realised that I was not the only one who had these doubts and questions. That’s why I thought of penning my thoughts down. Let’s hope more people take to organic food and some years down the line, the produce gets mainstreamed. 🙂
I have been using organic food for over 7 years now. Understand some of the points you have listed, very true. For me it all started for with weekly veggies and then moved on to others. Only thing that I am unable to get is milk (not regular) and sugar. I have two stores in chennai, which is run by voluntaries and believe me competing prices. I do understand there is more commercialization at the store end when it come to pricing as you have mentioned. The two organic stores that I mentioned above doesn’t encourage branded organic stuffs. The voluntaries include farmers and some retailers. The sources are regularly inspected by the voluntaries – thus assured.
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This model is exactly what I have been discussing it other closed forums. Why not bring the farmers under one roof and market the organic goods in a way that one doesn’t have to pay through the nose?
Thanks for your comment, Arun. I would love to talk to the volunteers who run these two shops in Chennai. Would be nice if you message me their details to email@example.com.
Much thanks for chiming in with these valuable inputs. 🙂
I think Arun vasudevan is referring to reStore at Kottiwakkam, ECR Road Chennai and the Organic Farmers Market run by Ananthoo. Both these stores have volunteers to help them and they buy their produce directly from Organic farmers. Vegetables are sourced from nearby villages and the prices which the farmers get are fixed for 6 months that is whatever the prevailing market whether on the higher or lower side the farmer gets a fixed priced. You are right when you said about non availability of certain vegetables or cereals. This is due to poor planning on the part of farmers. This can be be overcome when the farming community what exactly would be the offtake.
Radhika Rammohan: +919884409566 https://www.facebook.com/reStore-131968447779/timeline/?ref=un_c http://restore.org.in/
Ananthasayanam@ Ananthoo +919444166779 38, Besant avenue, Adyar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600020
097909 00887 http://www.ofmtn.in/
I do hope this info would do good. Should you require millets i can give you the address of the FPC (farmer producer company @ Dharmapuri for reliable bulk purchase.
Any other info. on Organic produce please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.Ishall be glad to be of help.
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Hi Giri Kumar, very valuable info. I am going to Chennai in a few days and if time permits, I will visit this store and hope to meet these amazing individuals. Thanks a lot, again. I will get in touch with you for millets. I am currently buying them from an organic store and a few kgs a month is enough for my family of 3. 🙂 I will be in touch.