I fully admit that I have become a food documentary junkie! And you would be surprised just how many documentaries out there. Since I have begun a whole food/real food lifestyle, I have made a whole lot of changes in our household. Of course, the first is that we’ve incorporated more fresh fruits and veggies into our diet. I bake all of our breads from scratch and now I am cooking home-cooked meals instead of fast food and highly processed foods.
Now, I will fully admit that in the beginning, I wasn’t purchasing organic supermarket or locally grown organic produce. That is, until I began watching food documentaries! Now, not only do I purchase organic produce, but shop for produce, eggs, dairy and meat from local farmers from animals that are pasture raised.
Here is why it is good to make the switch to buying local for your food needs:
1. Sustainability! What is sustainable food? This type of food is produced in a manner that is healthy for the body, environmentally friendly, kind to animals, and fair to workers. Sustainable foods typically come from smaller farms and ranches (although there are some wonderful larger companies that promote sustainable practices). These farms and ranches do not use pesticides, hormones, steroids or antibiotics. The best place to find sustainable foods is at your local farmer’s market. Be sure to ask the different vendors about their farming practices, as there are some small farms that do use pesticides on their crops! Be an informed consumer.
2. The food is much more fresh and tastes better! Most supermarket foods have spent days, even weeks in transit to your local supermarket produce department. Many of the most popular fruits and vegetables are imported from countries around the world. When produce is in transit for a long time, it loses vital nutrients as compared to local sustainable foods that come to your kitchen in much less time.
3. It is great for the local economy. When you support local farmers, you are putting money into your local economy, which allows the farmers to continue to provide high quality produce, dairy and meat for all to enjoy!
4. It reduced our dependency on foreign oil. Local goods have to travel a far shorter distance than goods shipped in from overseas. A very large portion of the fuel consumed in the US is done because of shipping. When we buy local, then large corporations will not need to ship as much. The more people begin purchasing local, the less dependent we are on foreign oil. Also, major corporations with large farming operations use far more energy than the smaller, sustainable farms. Our overall energy usage will be reduces, as will our carbon footprint.
Many people use the excuse that sustainable food is more expensive. Yes, it is a little more expensive. But, by consuming healthier foods that are free from pesticides, antibiotics, steroids and hormones, you will notice that your health will begin to improve and it will reduce your medical expenses in the long run. So, spend a little more now to improve the quality of your food and you won’t have to pay the doctor later!
The best places to find sustainably grown food? Your local farmer’s market, directly from the farms, or small, locally owned stores are your first line of defense. Be sure to ask the farmers about their farming practice. Those that are sustainable will be more than happy to share that information with you. They tend to be very passionate about farming sustainably! Your next option is health food stores such as Whole Foods and Earth Fare which often carry a variety of produce, meat and dairy products from local sustainable farmers. The last option is your local supermarket. Supermarkets are now carrying more and more organic options. Organic farmers, use sustainable practices.
If you want to find local resources for nourishing, whole foods, please contact your local Weston A Price chapter leader. They have resources for local pasture raised meat, dairy and produce.