Local? Organic? Natural? …..
What’s the difference? Which should I choose?
My preference: Local & Organic
Local, because I want to support the community I live in. Local, because the fresher the food the more nutrient dense it will be. Local foods are harvested when ripe, thus fresher and full of flavour. Local, to reduce my carbon footprint.
Organic: because I prefer not to consume added chemicals like insecticides and herbicides that are commonly used in agriculture. Organic, because the farmers take care of the land and water around them. They re-mineralize the soil naturally, which provides maximum nutrition from our food and, as a nutritionist that is most important! Organic, because I want to avoid GMO foods.
In Canada, choosing Local & Organic can be difficult year round, therefore we need to focus on seasonal foods and supplement with imported organic foods when needed.
These are just some of my reasons, but there is more….
According to Organic Week:
Environmentally: Organic farming methods reduce pollution and wasted energy – more energy is used to produce synthetic fossil-fuel based fertilizers than to cultivate and harvest crops or to transport food. Canadian studies have shown that organic farming practices can use as little as half the energy of other farming methods.
Economically: They also state that organic farms in rural Canada employ more people per farm and earn more money on average than does the typical Canadian farm.
According to a study conducted at Newcastle University:
Nutritionally: They found statistically, significant, meaningful differences of 19-69% more antioxidants in organic food. The researchers say that the increased levels of antioxidants can equal one to two portions more of conventional fruits and vegetables.
I know, organic food is more expensive… but aren’t you worth it?
Here are some tips to help stretch your organic dollar:
- Buy in season, those foods tend to be less expensive since they are abundant and require less transportation costs
- If you must limit what you can buy organic, check out ewg.org for the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. The lists give you the foods you should buy organic and those that show low levels of toxicity.
- Join a food coop: they are not for profit organizations that typically offer lower prices to members and usually support local farmers when possible.
- Shop at local farmers markets
How do I know if a product is really organic?
According to Canadian Organic Growers:
The Canada Organic Logo is a quick way to identify products grown and processed according to Canada’s national organic standards.
The Canadian national standards control which substances can be used, how the soil is managed (organic farmers must demonstrate that they are building soil fertility), when and how processing facilities are cleaned, as well as how organic products are segregated from non-organic ones during transportation and sale. Adherence to the standards is verified annually in both field and processing facility by independent organic inspectors. The same applies for the United States and Mexico.