Dr. Mehemet Oz, daytime television host of Dr. Oz and the man behind bringing medicine and health to the masses, has found himself in a bit of hot water with the green food community after calling organic food consumers “elitists” “snooty” and “snobs” in a recent article for TIME magazine (you can only read this article if you are a current subscriber).
Oz argues that the organic lifestyle is not only unconventional and undemocratic but also only reserved for the nation’s “1%”.
But before we throw the scrubs clad doctor to the wolves, let’s dissect these notions on the basis that maybe, just maybe, there’s a little truth to his tirade. How often have we heard from friends, family and complete strangers online that eating organic is expensive, not practical and outside of their budget? We’ve all witnessed the single mom at the grocery store filling her cart up with conventional canned vegetables, sugary snacks and chips instead of opting for the healthier foods all in an attempt to stretch her budget and man her household.
Damn right that organic food is elitist. There’s an entire culture centered on the green movement that involves yuppies, yogis, and the occasional hippie.
Socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are riddled with fast-food restaurants, “soul food” hot spots, and junk food galore — with the occasional Farmer’s Market coming far and few between. Food deserts aren’t a myth. They are a true reality for millions of Americans living in disadvantaged communities. But guess who can afford to eat well ALL THE TIME? That 1% everyone is always talking about.
Sure there are ways people can go organic and fresh on a budget, but that takes planning and time. And who has time if you’re a family of four or more working several jobs to pay the rent and have no car to make it to the grocery store every week? There’s no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s making it to a location near you anytime soon.
There is a national food crisis happening and we can’t ignore its link to obesity, sickness and poor health. For example, Newark, New Jersey just opened a neighborhood Food Depot after 25 years of not having access to a local market with fresh foods.
What Doctor Oz said may not have been politically correct but he wasn’t lying. These realities, however, don’t give us an excuse to stop trying to eat non-gmo, pesticide-free food. We’ll just have to keep fighting.