Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Buying local produce and other artesian foods is a personal choice. There are many options such as; buying online, going to the local supermarket, the
Buying local produce and other artesian foods is a personal choice. There are many options such as; buying online, going to the local supermarket, the natural foods store and buying from local farmers at farmers markets or co-ops. The benefits to buying from a local farm or co-op are endless but to name a few your purchase is sustaining that farm, your food is probably grown without pesticides and it’s probably not coming from genetically modified seeds. When in doubt, you can always grow your own produce and control which seeds you buy and how you manage weeds and bugs, the organic way.
When you think about fruits and vegetables the words “natural” and “healthy” come to mind and this is true, they are healthy for the body as compared to a “processed food” snack such as; potato chips, french fries or even pretzels. The body turns high glycemic, processed foods into sugar more quickly than foods seen in nature or low glycemic foods. Given the choice it is probably a better option to eat an apple over caramel corn when you need a snack but there are some other things to consider and with so many great options today, why not make the best choice?
The options in produce today are conventional, organic and local. It used to be that when you needed produce the supermarket was the place to go however that is quickly becoming the last place to buy and only in a pinch. It is true that if you have the choice between conventional or organic the organic option is always best. Conventional produce is grown typically with herbicides and pesticides.
The most recent discovery is that conventional produce is grown with genetically modified seeds or GMO seeds. A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques and the seeds are resistant to commercial herbicides. It used to be believed that pesticides could simply be washed off before eating but these days, pesticides are built into the seed itself so chances are, you are eating those too. The USDA just approved the planting of alfalfa seeds that are genetically engineered GE.
Organic crops and most local crops are grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides and are planted using non-GMO seeds and the practices the farmers use are sustainable. Sure, local health food stores and even some major supermarket chains carry organic produce but one thing to think about is your “carbon footprint”. If you buy organic lemons from Mexico or California yet you live in Florida, you have greatly contributed to pollution by supporting that truck to make it to Florida. Why support a farmer in California when there is a local farm that needs your support? A lot of gasoline is used to get crops from the west coast to the east coast.
Local is Better
A new and popular trend is to frequent local farmers markets or co-ops. Most of the farmers use sustainable practices and do not use pesticides on their crops like Heart of Christmas Farms. It is a good idea to talk with local farmers and ask some questions. They might not be certified organic but that is no easy task and you might be surprised at how organic their produce actually is without the “organic” label. Many cities have local co-ops where the local farmers sell their offerings to the community. Overall, choosing fruits and vegetables is a better choice than a sugary snack and the body needs the nutrients that they provide.
The things to think about is what toxins are you putting in your body from that produce? What will those pesticides and genetically modified seeds do to your health long term? Finally, if there is an option to eat organically and locally, why not take that option? In the process you are not contributing to pollution by buying from elsewhere and you are helping local farmers that desperately need your support. What you might be surprised to find out is that buying local can be much cheaper than buying organic in any supermarket and might even be cheaper than conventional produce options. Check out a local farmers market today and enjoy!
Grow Your Own Garden
One final thought…you can always start a garden and grow your own produce. You can have an edible landscape that everyone can enjoy literally. This is a great way to ensure that the growing practices are up to your own standards without the use of pesticides or GMO seeds. Not to mention, growing your own food is also a brilliant way to keep food costs down as organic veggies in the supermarket can be very pricy. The best part is sharing your harvest with family and friends and who knows maybe you can even become part of the local farming community eventually and sell your crops at a farmer’s market, you never know?