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Jul 12

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Organic: What Does It Mean To You?


Hello everyone!  Today’s contribution is brought to you by  Mike Lieberman – the Urban Organic Gardener.  Not only is Mike an inspiration to those in the gardening community, he is living proof that you can grow food in the tiniest of spaces!  As you read this article, ask yourself the question, Organic:  What Does It Mean To You?


The word “organic” gets thrown around all over the place these days. One of the common stereotypes around those that buy organic are elitists that think they are better than others, but what does that word really mean?

If you look up organic gardening and organic food, you can read how the USDA defines it. Good luck figuring out what that means.

There is no strict definition of what organic means. It means something different to everyone.

Here is what organic gardening and living organically means to me.

There is no strict definition of what words mean. As often happens, words take on different meanings to different people. A universal definition is just hard to agree on. When it comes to living and gardening organically there are so many things that factor into it that are out of our control.

The first example that comes to my mind is our air. It’s not like we can decide to breathe or not breathe the air. Ok, yes you can decide to breathe that air or  not. I’ll let you make that choice and see what happens.

Water is another thing that we have limited control over. Though we can purchase a filtration system of some sort to clean it up.

With that being said, we can control some things, but not all of them.

It’s nearly impossible for us to have complete control over all these aspects. In my eyes, it’s about doing the best that you can do given the circumstance that you are facing. That is how I define organic living.

When it comes to gardening organically, I say that I am. Others think that I’m not since I’m using plastic containers and soda bottles to grow in  that it’s not safe. Therefore it’s not organic.

I might be using plastic containers. I can’t argue with that. Though they are from the containers with the number 5 on the bottom which supposedly don’t leach BPAs. The water I use is filtered, but I put it into a plastic container to water the containers.

The other thing is that I also live in Los Angeles. In case you didn’t know, it’s one of the most polluted cities in the world. Not the United States, but the planet. I’ve opted out of buying one of those large hamster balls to roll myself around in and decided to continue to live there.

Since I’m growing in containers, I’m using organic potting mix. How about people that grow the traditional way in the ground?

Is their soil organic? I’d almost guarantee that toxins are in the soil from the water and environment.

Don’t worry the world is not coming to an end though. Plenty of power still lies in your hands to control certain things. You don’t have to resort to chemical gardening. I say to focus on what you can control and ignore the rest.

That is what organic gardening and living mean to me. It’s anything that I  have control over. I can’t control the air around me (yet). I’m working on that one.

What does organic mean to you?



Through his blog and social media, Mike Lieberman inspires and empowers people to start growing their own food and reconnect with their food source. Lieberman believes that growing just one herb or vegetable will make a difference. It will help to cut back the intensive resources that go into the production and transport of food to our plates. It will also help us to re-establish our connection with food that we’ve lost over the past few years. We are humans. We grow food. Connect with Mike at, Twitter or Facebook.

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  • Suzie Salmon

    Great Post! I’m always torn when it comes to purchasing “organic”. To meet the standards required in order to utilize that label, sometimes this means a serious reduction in biodiveristy, so contributing to even the possibility of that bothers me. I’m with you on growing what I can at home in containers. I’ve only managed lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions so far but I just installed a watering system on my deck (myself!) so I’m hoping to add a few more edibles amongst my grasses and greenery. Thanks for sharing Mike! 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for reading Suzie! I love Mike’s approach of growing your own food at home…it shouldn’t be overwhelming and as long as we can grow something, even if it’s just one thing, it can make a difference! Have fun experimenting with your drip system! I bet you’re going to have a blast selecting edibles to grow.

  • Katie Smish-Smash

    Source for “[LA is] one of the most polluted cities in the world”..

  • pewp

    To me, organic means “carbon containing”. Such as in organic chemistry, which is the study of molecules/reactions of carbon containing molecules.