Want to take your grocery shopping (and your nutrition) to the next level?
Buy organic and local!
Both have incredible benefits for your health and the environment.
To fully embrace the food revolution, head to one of the 20,000+ natural food stores across the country.
When you buy local and organic, you won’t be alone.
Organic food is big business.
In fact, you can already find it in 3 out of every 4 conventional grocery stores. (1)
One of the best ways to buy local is at your neighborhood farmers market.
But despite their growing popularity, there’s still a lot of confusion about organic vs. locally grown food.
This article explains the differences and benefits of both.
What Is Organic Food?
Organic food meets the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards for being free of chemicals.
These means it has no synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Chemical pesticides and fertilizers can wreak havoc on your digestive system.
Similarly, conventional meats contain growth hormones that promote hormone imbalances.
Without strong pesticides and fertilizers, organic farmers are at a disadvantage.
For one, they tend to have smaller harvests.
To make matters worse, there isn’t much to stop insects from munching their crops.
As a result, organic produce ends up being more expensive.
What Is Locally Grown Food?
Locally grown food is farmed and sold in the same general area.
Ironically, there’s no consensus on what distance defines “local.”
Is it 20 miles?
However, when you compare it to the jaw-dropping distances that conventional produce travels, it doesn’t really matter where you draw the line.
Believe it or not, most conventional produce travels an average of 1,494 miles.
On top of that, the typical American meal contains food from five different countries. (2)
Sadly, this means more gasoline and greater carbon emissions.
But saving the environment isn’t the only reason to shop local.
As it turns out, locally grown food is more flavorful.
Unlike conventional fruits and veggies, local farmers harvest their food when it’s ripe.
This gives the sugars time to fully develop.
Even cucumbers taste mildly sweet when they’re ripe and in season.
What’s Healthier…Locally Grown or Organic Food?
If someone forced you to choose between organic food and locally grown food for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Here’s a hint: go ORGANIC!
Both organic and locally grown food help the environment in various ways…but organic food has a bigger impact on your health.
The pesticides and fertilizers in conventional produce is incredibly toxic.
Sure, local food tends to taste better…but it’s not worth the health risks.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose between organic and locally grown food.
Instead, you can buy organic, local food and get the best of both worlds.
What’s Better for the Environment…Organic or Locally Grown Food?
When it comes to environmental impact, it’s hard to pick a winner.
On one hand, local food dramatically reduces carbon emissions.
However, conventional food damages the soil.
Most conventional farmers under-rotate their crops, and this depletes the soil of nutrients.
As depressing as this sounds, it’s just the beginning…
Non-organic farming also contaminates the soil and waterways with chemicals.
Eventually, these chemicals make it into the water we drink.
In Flint, Michigan, lead poisoning in their water is just the beginning — agricultural runoff and chemicals from meat packing facilities are also part of the problem. (3)
Unfortunately, Flint is not alone.
Agricultural towns across the country are at risk.
Luckily, you can do your part by buying local and organic.
What’s More Affordable…Locally Grown or Organic Food?
In general, organic and locally grown are both more expensive than conventional alternatives.
But between the two, prices will always vary depending on the food.
The conventional apples at your farmers market may be more expensive than the organic ones at the grocery store.
At other times, the opposite might be true.
Local food, however, has one small advantage: it tends to last longer because it doesn’t sit in a truck for days.
This means that it lasts longer and reduces waste.
Organic Food vs. Non-GMO
Non-GMO means that the food hasn’t been genetically modified.
It’s a common misconception that organic food is also non-GMO, but this isn’t true.
In fact, this is exactly why activists founded the Non-GMO Project in 2007.
For food to be non-GMO and organic, it has to have both labels on the packaging.
Cage-Free, Free-Range, and Pasture-Raised Eggs
How “free” are your eggs?
The hens that lay conventional eggs usually spend their lives in a cage so small that they can’t even turn around.
Cage-free eggs, on the other hand, come from chickens that can at least walk around, but the conditions are still cramped.
Free-range chickens usually aren’t much better.
In fact, “free-range” just means that there are a couple of small holes in the side of the enclosure.
Most of the time, however, the chickens couldn’t find the exit if they wanted to.
If you want your eggs to come from “happy,” sanitary chickens, then you’ll have to buy “pasture-raised.”
This means that they got to run around in the grass.
If you have any further questions about eating healthy, our providers at Complete Care Health Centers are happy to help.
Feel free to contact us today for more advice about eating organic and local.