When you can only choose one: say local produce maybe or maybe not grown using sustainable, organic methods or organic produce shipped in from across the country, which do you choose?
First and foremost local organic food is the best option. Not only is it grown without using pesticides and chemicals – it is at it’s peak of nutritional content. The issue comes when you are looking at buying one or the other. There are several factors at play here. Many times you are choosing to support a local farm and keep the transport of food low vs controlled growing practices. I will always lean towards buying local.
It would also depend on what it was. I would never buy conventional corn for example because I wouldn’t want to eat from a GMO seed. Therefore, I would go organic before conventional local on this one. Anytime a GMO seed is used I would avoid it. But let’s take a closer look at the Pros and Cons of each and you can decide for yourself.
When I can’t buy an item locally and have to purchase something from the supermarket I make sure it’s organic. Thankfully I have always had an option to buy organic (certified or not) and local.
The best advice I can give you is to get to know your farmer. If their produce is not organic ask about their practices. Do they use chemicals etc? Many times someone who is a local conventional farmer will have practices closer to organic than you might think. Arm yourself with knowledge before making a final choice. At the end of the day: choosing fresh living food is better than processed food no matter how it was grown.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In regards to Organic Certification, many small farms use sustainable growing practices that are above and beyond what the USDA has set for growers to use the Organic label. There is a lot of discontent within the sustainable farming community with Organic labeling. It's very expensive and requires a good chunk of time. The Organic requirements have also been relaxed quite a bit in recent years due to heavy lobbying by large conventional growers. EatLocalGrown recommends that whenever possible you get to know your local farmers. Ask them lots of questions about their farming practices, and keep looking until you find farmers that you trust. We've done this and found that we really learned a lot (and made some good friends). It's nice to know the people that are growing the food that you and your family eats!