Organic: What Does It Mean to You?

Reader Contribution by Mike Lieberman

When you say “organic” most people think of elitists that are buying over priced food because they think that they are better than others. What does the “organic” really mean though?

What is organic gardening? What is organic food? You can look up how the USDA defines it and try to decipher that meaning. Good luck with that.

I think everyone has a different meaning as to what organic means to them. There is no universal definition of it.

I’m going to break down what organic gardening and living organically means to me.

Much like everything else in life, it’s hard to have an exact definition of what something means. It’s just not possible. When it comes to living and gardening organically there are so many things that factor into it that are out of our control.

One such example is the air that’s surrounding us. We can’t decide to breathe or not breathe the air. Ok, you can decide to breathe that air or  not. If you choose not to, you will wind up dead pretty soon. Just saying.

Water is another thing that we have limited control over. Though we can purchase a filtration system of some sort to clean it up.

So there are some things that we can control and others that we cannot.

It’s just not possible for any of us to have absolute control over all of these factors. For me, it’s about doing the best that you can do given the circumstance that you are facing. That’s what organic living means to me.

I believe that I’m gardening organically. Some do say that since I’m using plastic containers and soda bottles to grow in  that it’s not safe. Therefore it’s not organic.

Yes, I am using plastic containers, but they are from the containers with the number 5 on the bottom which supposedly don’t leach BPAs. The water I use is filtered, but I put it into a plastic container to pour.

Let’s see, I also live in Los Angeles, which is known to be one of the most polluted cities in the world. Not the United States, but the entire world. I’ve opted out of buying one of those large hamster balls to roll myself around in and decided to continue to live there.

I’m growing in containers, so I bought organic soil. How about people that grow the traditional way in the ground?

How organic is their soil even if they don’t use sprays and pesticides? There are likely toxins in the soil from the water and enivornment.

Yes that might all sound daunting and disheartening, but I don’t think it should be. You have the power to control certain things. You don’t have to use toxic fertilizers and sprays. Worry about what you can control and do your best with those.

That’s what organic and organic gardening is to me. It’s anything that I am actually doing and have control over. I can’t control the air around me (yet).

What does organic mean to you?

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