Why buy local and organic food? What is “Sustainable agriculture”?
Since this is a Rookie Tip after all, I'll keep it simple: when you are shopping for food and have two choices in front of you, always pick the one that is local, and preferably organic, if you can afford it and when you can find it.
What is Sustainable Agriculture?
- This link has an introduction to Sustainable agriculture, but the official definition is this: Sustainable agriculture is a way of raising food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities.
- Anytime you're decreasing the steps between the farm and your table, you'll not only help out your local farms, but you're food will also have a higher nutritional value.
- Buying organic means you'll eliminate your pesticides/chemical exposure when it comes to produce, and organic in other foods means things like no HFCS, no trans fat, no GMO's, and no chemical preservatives or artificial colors & additives. (However, an organic label only means it has to be 95% organic, so be sure to still read the ingredients. Read more about some of the junk out there that is labeled “organic” from Hallee the Homemaker.)
FOODS/PRODUCE RATED MOST HEALTHY TO LEAST HEALTHY:
- Organic and local – not always easy to find, so when you see it, snatch it up!
- Local, but not organic – this is what I can usually find the most of at our farmer's market in the summer. Surprisingly, there are still not as many organic growers as I'd like to see.
- Organic, but not local – sadly, this is mostly what we eat from the store all winter…but I'm canning more this summer! (Read this great post from Kristen about Why organic isn't enough.)
- Not local OR organic – but if this is all you can find, eat fruits & veggies anyway – see the pocket sized chart below for which are OK to buy conventional and which are not.
- A great comprehensive listing of why we should eat local and organic!
- Read some real people stories about why they choose to eat well.
- Another reason to eat organic: avoid irradiated foods
- This link has helpful information about what the numbers on the produce stickers at the store mean (I didn't realize all I could learn from those numbers), and also she has a link to a site listing non-GMO foods. (If a food is genetically modified, it means they're messing with the seeds in crops to make them hold up so that round-up won't kill them, then they can spray their crop full of it – great for profits, but then WE ingest all those chemicals.)
- Thinking about drinking fresh/raw milk? Read about clean farming practices to look for.
- Ever heard of “Twitter”? Check out my Twitter Feed. (I'm only on here sporadically, but I set it up so that any updates will show up on the homepage of my site now.)
- This is a nice printable chart (including a pocket size) telling you which conventional produce has the most and the least pesticides. (Helpful when deciding which ones are worth the extra cost to buy organic.)