RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Grocery stores can be chemical minefields. Aisles are lined with processed foods, 80 percent of which contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, plant ingredients that have been impregnated with pesticide genes or bacteria to resist potent herbicides and insecticides, and in some areas, organic food and produce aren't easy to find. The Organic Consumers Association recently dubbed towns like those "organic food deserts," where chemically grown produce and meat rein supreme, and eating healthy organic food means driving a few hours out of your way.
If you happen to find yourself in one of those areas, salvation may come at the end of September. At that point, a new organic and non-GMO food club called the Green Polka Dot Box will begin accepting memberships for $50 and $125 per year, depending on what sort of benefits you want. The founders have made an effort to sell only foods that are either certified organic or promoted as free of genetically modified ingredients—and at prices that are 30 to 50 percent lower than what you'd find at your local store. Once you pay for a membership, you do all your shopping online, for everything from baby shampoo to jarred tomatoes, and orders over $150 ship for free via FedEx.
It's an interesting concept for people who feel that paying a premium for organic foods and nontoxic personal care products is simply out of their budget. A meander through the "aisles" of their demo store shows how much you could potentially save. Tom's of Maine toothpaste that sells for up to $6.50 at the drugstore costs just $3.37, and organic almond butter that can cost as much as $20 at the store retails for $13.20.
One downside: that organic produce, meat, and dairy products aren't among the offerings right now, and although the site's being endorsed by the Organic Consumers Association and the Institute for Responsible Technology, two groups who aggressively fight for GMO-free foods, there doesn't appear to be a strong connection to the Non-GMO Project, which is the only certification scheme that tests packaged foods to ensure they are free of GMO contamination (gene drift and cross-pollination can introduce GMOs to crops that aren't genetically modified); USDA Organic certification guarantees that a product was made without GMOs, but the agency doesn’t require testing for contamination.
Check out the Green Polka Dot Box's website and let us know what you think in the comments below. Do you think you'll join?
Published on: August 15, 2011
Updated on: August 16, 2011