Guest blog by Theo Griscti
I was living in Vancouver Canada for a year prior to moving to Playa Del Carmen and everything there is bio degradable and natural due to the high consumer demand.
Organic farming is big in Mexico. Mexico now has over 110,000 organic farmers in which they grow on smaller than 9 acres of land! Quite forward thinking I thought. The problem lies in the fact that there is a lack of demand locally for the expensive produce and therefore, stated by The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, said 85% gets packed and shipped for export.
On the positive side, Jesus Haro, secretary of Impulso Organico Mexicano, a government branch, has said the number of farmers has grown 80% from 33,587. This included a growth of 600 000 acres bringing it into a multimillion dollar business. The tough part for Mexican and North American consumers like myself is that not much is regulated in this industry, or many others for that matter. What this means for the organic food consumer is that there can be a large grey area pertaining to which of the currently 15 certification agencies to feel good about.
Right now as it stands, consumers must trust what the labeling says, unfortunately, some farmers do use chemicals and some farmers are planting in land that has been saturated with DDT or DDD and sometimes there is cross contamination even in the shipment and storage.
From my experience if you can go to the small local farmers markets or participate in a food co-op where you are certain on what you are purchasing, then you can start on your way to a new healthy lifestyle. Worst case scenario, make sure to wash your produce and up to 50% of any chemical residue can be washed away.
Happy and healthy hunting!
Theo Griscti March 2013