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Thread: Is organic rice worth the cost?

  1. #1
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    Question Is organic rice worth the cost?

    We use a lot of rice in our house, so we want to find a good source that we can buy in large quantities. We were at Costco today, and they have large bags of non-organic rice for about $1.50-2.50/kg depending on the type of rice. Since we usually prefer to buy organic, we held off, but when we went to Whole Foods and checked out their bulk section, we found that organic rice ran $7-9/kg, which is a LOT more expensive.

    My question is, is rice one of those foods that is really worth buying organic? What are the environmental impacts of non-organic rice. Does it tend to carry a lot of pesticide residue? I'm sure there is a cheaper source of organic rice in this city than Whole Foods, so I'm trying to decided if it's worth the trouble to look for it.

  2. #2
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    My impression has always been that rice is heavily sprayed. You could investigate things like this, which is what I go by: http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=RI Here, also, is Lundberg's chart on organic vs. eco-farmed vs. conventional: http://www.lundberg.com/Commitment/Ecofarmed.aspx

    I buy organic rice in bulk - Lundberg grows it in California. I get their organic or eco-farmed rice for at or under US$ 1.30/pound through this place: http://goldenorganics.net You may have a similar wholesaler near Vancouver.

    I certainly think it's worth looking for.

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    puglogic, thank you for the what's on my food website. I'd research these things myself, but I'm never really sure which sites are reliable.

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    Yes. Organic food is always worth it. If what you build your body and your health with isn't worth the money, nothing is.

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    Yes.......rice is a crop that is heavily sprayed, (In the major rice-producing countries rice commonly accounts for 25 to 50 per cent of pesticide use, according to the internet), which is not only something to be considered for your own health, but for the health of the workers in the rice fields, children those workers may have (since many pesticides affect reproduction systems/birth defects in children of workers exposed), and the biosystem and watershed of where the rice is grown.

    There are direct costs (price) and indirect costs (damage to health of both workers and end users, environmental damage, etc), and when you look at ALL the costs, especially given that even expensive rice is a relatively inexpensive food, I'd definitely go ahead and get organic.

    Although I think you should be able to find it less expensively than than Whole Foods' price. They don't call Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck" for nothing. And if you're in an area with Whole Foods, you're in an area where other, less expensive sources would be available.
    Last edited by loosechickens; 7-11-11 at 10:34pm.

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    Yes. Organic food is always worth it. If what you build your body and your health with isn't worth the money, nothing is.
    my way of thinking really, health is an asset, let all currencies collapse and the whole economic system go kaplooee and well so long as there is enough real wealth for survival, health in as asset.

    But more nuanced, rice doesn't make the dirty dozen list of the dozen most pesticide laden foods, although I don't know if grains are included in that list. I don't think genetically modified rice is grown in the U.S. at present (although they are trying to push in that direction, ha should buy organic on principle to send a message about that!). I might worry a bit about rice imported from overseas being more contaminated for sure. The California stuff is probably ok (although there is a level of absurdity beyond measure in growing such a water intensive crop in such a dry state). Yea, you probably can do better than Whole Foods, there's always a Whole Foods premium to anything there I think, now needless to say I LOVE Whole Foods, because you can't find as consistently good products anywhere around here, there really is nothing like it, but yea for some things you may want to avoid the premium.
    I hope that someone saves a seat for me on the last plane out

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    I got a giant bag of organic brown rice at Costco. I don't remember the price, but I remember thinking it was a good deal. It was more than the conventionally grown white rice, to be sure, but per serving it was still pretty cheap.
    My blog: www.sunnysideuplife.blogspot.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perplexa View Post
    puglogic, thank you for the what's on my food website. I'd research these things myself, but I'm never really sure which sites are reliable.
    I feel the same way, Perplexa. I sometimes don't even know where to start-- this forum is such a good resource for me. So many sharp minds roaming about!

    I should mention that I too think growing rice in an arid climate is a little silly (depending on whether it's in a river delta area, etc.) but food miles are important to me. I really try to avoid any major purchases of foreign-grown food of any type.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stella View Post
    I got a giant bag of organic brown rice at Costco. I don't remember the price, but I remember thinking it was a good deal. It was more than the conventionally grown white rice, to be sure, but per serving it was still pretty cheap.
    Our Costco sells Lundberg 12lb bags of short grain organic brown rice for, I think, $12. They sell non-organic white rice in 25lb bags for the same price. We buy the organic stuff because it's brown rice, not because it's organic.

    Quote Originally Posted by puglogic View Post
    I should mention that I too think growing rice in an arid climate is a little silly (depending on whether it's in a river delta area, etc.) but food miles are important to me. I really try to avoid any major purchases of foreign-grown food of any type.
    I think we're going to try our hands with an upland rice next year in our back yard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upland_rice. I haven't looked into it around here, but you might find a localish supplier of upland rice in your area. That solves the climate/crop mismatch too (although I haven't tried it so I know nothing about taste!).

    and, off topic, Michigan State University (their agriculture stuff is < 2 miles from our house) is working on a decently-yielding perennial wheat also that I'd like to try next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by benhyr View Post
    and, off topic, Michigan State University (their agriculture stuff is < 2 miles from our house) is working on a decently-yielding perennial wheat also that I'd like to try next year.
    I was just reading about perennial grain crops this morning in National Geographic. What a fascinating topic. The article asserted that the first farmers chose to cultivate annual crops instead of perennial crops, probably because of the fact that it's a lot easier to modify/breed annual crops. So, it was a fork in our evolutionary road; perennial grain cultivation is the road not taken.

    It will be very interesting to read about MSU's research.

    Kara

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