Organic. Local. Farm to table. What does it all mean? Why should we know the difference? We have a quick breakdown of benefits with tips for understanding and enjoying organic foods.
Understanding Organic Labels
The USDA’s National Organic program is the entity that designates which food may be labeled as organic. In order to be labeled organic, the food must be produced without synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, genetic engineering, irradiation, or sewage sludge. Avoiding synthetic chemicals and fertilizers in your food is important, as pesticides have been linked to numerous health problems, including cancer.
The popularity and availability of organic food has grown in recent years, but it is still not readily available for everyone. Cost can also be a prohibiting factor for changing over your whole grocery list to organic. Luckily, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) puts out a list every year with the dirtiest and cleanest foods. This list can assist in decision making on purchasing organic vs non-organic foods. Check out your local store and see what organic food is available. This information will help you start your own cost/benefit comparison for you and your health-conscious family.
Benefits of Locally Grown Foods
Buying local food direct from farms, farm stores, and farmer’s markets is a growing trend while also a very old tradition. Before big grocery stores, we grew our food and bartered with neighbors for food we did not grow. Back then most of our food came from within a close proximity to our homes. Today, buying food locally helps out small businesses and provides the consumer with the satisfaction of knowing where and how their food was grown. The beauty of buying local is you can chat with the producer and ask any questions you have on how their production works.
Did you know there could be multiple organic farms in your area? You may also be surprised to find local food can often be cost effective because it cuts out distribution and transportation costs. Without long distances for the food to travel means less environmental pollution.
Traveling for Farm-to-Table Freshness
Buying local does not have to be reserved for local to your home. Consider buying local while on a trip. It is a wonderful way to tap into the local flavor and get to know the place you are visiting. Hit up a farmer’s market and pick up supplies for a picnic lunch. Plan a night out for a farm-to-table dinner. These can often be elaborate five-course meals prepared with locally grown food and paired with local, craft beverages. Buy locally produced jams, salsas, cheeses, and more as gifts for the ones you love. Food is a perfect way for us to connect, and you may just make a new friend wherever you are visiting!