“Are organic foods better than conventional?” A common question I am asked frequently in practice. The question is not as easy as it once was to answer. Organic, local, homegrown…all play a role in what the optimal choice really is.
Here’s what I suggest:
Shop local farmers’ markets.
The more local your food, the less processing it generally goes through to get to your table. When you shop at farmers markets, you support your local farmers—and help ensure that family farms will be around for your children and grandchildren.
Get in the habit of eating seasonally. Strawberries grown locally and harvested at peak season taste better—and generally cost less—than the same fruit grown a half continent or hemisphere away and shipped by train or air freight.
Buying local food is also better for the planet. Less packaging. Smaller carbon footprint to transport it from the farm to your table. Did you know that most American food travels an average of 1,300 miles from farm to plate? (Think about how much fossil fuels that takes.)
Make sure your farmers market really is a farmers market. Some so called “farmers markets” sell the same industrially farmed, out-of-state produce you’d find at the supermarket. This is not a real farmers market.
Take the time to meet and talk with your local farmers. You’ll be amazed how much you learn about food and healthy eating.
And of course, don’t forget to bring your own reusable shopping bag.