Go Organic and Local!
Organic labels are everywhere. Fruits and vegetables have organic labels as well as whole grain breads, peanut butter and spaghetti sauce. It feels as if everything in the grocery store is organic and therefore, our food is cleaner, healthier and more nutritious. Right? Well, not exactly.p>
There are actually four USDA label categories for organic:
- 100% Organic
- This is the box, produce or meat product that you want to buy. It is the real thing.
- The USDA requires that the product contain 95% or more organic ingredients by weight, excluding water and salt.
- Made with [Organic]
- 70% or more of the ingredients are organic; can list up to 3 organic ingredients on front panel (Europe is getting ready to get rid of this label.)
- Ingredient listing
- Less than 70% of the ingredients are organic; 'organic' can only appear on ingredient panel.
Since Organic is all the craze, we forget the importance of local farming, not only from a nutritional and natural perspective, but you are also consciously helping improve global warming and the impending environmental crisis.
Take a moment to look around in your local grocery store and kitchen; notice that many of our products are imported. Fiji water, California oranges, Key Limes, Brazilian Acai, Mexican Corona beer. I'm a culprit as well, even as a healthy eater. My oatmeal is from Chicago, my eggs from Wisconsin, my mangos from Mexico, my peanut butter from Ohio.
A study published by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, in Ames, Iowa tabbed the cost of fuel and the carbon dioxide emissions â€¦ and found that "conventional" over-the-road transportation â€“ used 4 to 17 times more fuel and emitted 5 to 17 times more CO2 from burning of the fuel than a regional-based food distribution system.
By shopping locally as well as organic, we can support our local farmers, save the environment, and help bring gas prices down by using less energy. Besides, going to the Green Market at Union Square can be fun on a Saturday afternoon.