Organic + Conventional – Big Box Store > Shopping Local = First World Problems

Move over Mommy Wars. A new divisive parenting battle royale has hit the supermarket aisles near you. Welcome to America. Land of the free range chickens. Home of the brave souls who brought you high fructose corn syrup. Where you can get it your way or opt to buy 1/4 of a grass fed cow straight from the farm. Where organic produce and conventional produce live side-by-side in poetic harmony at your local food co-op, or in the well lit aisles of a big box store. Well, semi-harmoniously…

I live in Vermont. Vermont is beautiful, green, lush, healthy and amazing. Vermont protects and preserves its natural surroundings. So much so that there are no billboards anywhere in the state. That’s right. You want billboards? TOO BAD. Billboards are illegal here in Vermont. In addition to the beauty of the state, I love its people. Vermonters are passionate and strong. They not only talk the talk, they walk the walk. Vermont lives green, they pour effort into public health consciousness, there are food co-operatives throughout the state and local farms, local cheeses, local breads, local produce and local meats are a huge part of our community. We live in a state with a lovely cornucopia of healthy, quality food. I am fortunate to live here and have easy access to its bounty. As a result of our location, my children are being raised more food conscious as well. They are aware of our area’s local ties to the food we eat. It is a budding relationship. I hope that as they continue to learn, they gain a deeper appreciation for the food they eat and the process of how food makes its way to their plates.

As with everything in life, every sweet must have its sour. So, here’s the whole sour “thing”. People can be downright pretentious about the food their neighbors are eating. This haughtiness extends to not only what you’re eating, but, where you are buying your food. To this I say…lucky us. Lucky us that we have moved so far past our basic needs for shelter and food, and are now so fat in luxury that we can now look upon others with moral superiority because we have purchased free range eggs. Lucky us that we can turn up our noses at the mother giving her child a juice box. Lucky us that a cart filled with organic, grass fed,  all natural, no preservatives food items can make us feel like a better parent. Lucky us. We are the luckiest S.O.B.s on the planet.

When I go to my local co-op and the cashier asks, “Are these bananas organic (happy voice) or conventional (voice drops two octaves and storm clouds appear over my cart)?” I want to grab the cashier, hug them and say, “Isn’t it amazing that we can get our organic cotton knickers in a twist about bananas? Isn’t it amazing that we have so little to worry about that you can judge me by the bananas in my basket? Aren’t our healthy kids so inspiring? (Still hugging) Oh, yes..the bananas are conventional.”

Just under my skin, the food judgement infuriates me – Who are you to judge my berries! In my heart, it saddens me – Parents already have so much guilt to navigate. We don’t need one more thing to make us feel like we could and should be doing more. In my soul, I am grateful.

I am grateful that my cart is full of food. I am grateful that my children have never been truly hungry. I am grateful that I can buy my organic spinach at Walmart or walk to the co-op and buy local strawberries. I am grateful for the ridiculous guilt I feel about my conventional produce, non-organic milk and occasional processed goody. I may have worries about what my children are sometimes eating, but, I’m never worried that they will not eat. I am ridiculously and utterly grateful.

And, I’m grateful for the organic snobs. I’m grateful that your children are so well fed and healthy. I am grateful that you have nothing else to worry about. I am so grateful that you are helping support the local farmers even if you are being a total biddy about it.

So, no matter what you buy or where you shop, can we all just agree that we are damn lucky? As we give thanks for our plenty, I wish organic love and conventional wisdom to all my Co-op ladies and gentlemen, my Walmart mistresses and misters, my Free Range fellas and fillies, my Grass Fed guys and gals, my local lasses and lads and my Supermarket sisters and brothers.

See you at the Farmers’ Market or, in the Burger King drive-thru.

Organic AND cheesy! Cheesy, Indeed.


  1. Great post! As a felloe Vermonter I can completely relate with everything you said! I look forward to more of your writing!

  2. Nicely said. Amen. 🙂

  3. I LOVE this take on it – what a great perspective! Plus you know I laughed my arse off at the image of you bear hugging the cashier. 🙂

    • Thanks, Robyn. I just want to wear a giant button that says, “Have you hugged your Co-op cashier today?” Only when I’m in the co-op, of course! That would make the whole process so much more delightfully awkward. Thank you for reading and stopping by!

  4. I love your gratitude and your sharing of such a healthy perspective!

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