Since starting this blog, I have made room in my life to start thinking a lot about the local/sustainable food movement, primarily the localness of it and how it effects (or doesn’t) systemic change. Then, on a drive home from my daughter’s school, my mind drifted to the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen,” the lists the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out each year (the most recent was published yesterday) documenting the foods that have the most pesticide residues and which have the least. This is a list put out for consumers. Shoppers who want to avoid the “dirtiest” foods can reference the list and opt to buy organic if their budgets allow. The list is widely distributed among green/sustainable living circles and written in major media publications. I use it myself.
But here’s the thing, the list is for consumers and says nothing about how the pesticides on these crops affect the workers in the fields (applying them and/or harvesting the fruit and vegetables). So, I can choose the best for my family, but is this the best choice for the men and women in the field who help to bring this “cleaner” food to my table? I wanted to know, so I did a little research.