In the United States we’re becoming increasingly aware of how important our food sources are, beyond just choosing organic from the produce isle at the grocery store. In fact, what I’ve learned over the past few years is that while organic is good, you can eat just as healthfully by understanding where your food comes from, and also how it’s grown.
Did you know that it’s expensive to be Certified Organic by the FDA? Small-scale farmers often don’t have the ability to pay for the process, even if they are farming organically. Get to know your local farmers by visiting farms and farmers’ markets! They will happily tell you about their practices, and many farms offer tours too.
‘Eat local’ means you not only know where your food comes from, but that also you’re helping to keep your community sustainable. I love this “farm to table” concept, and it’s easy to take advantage by visiting a farmers’ market or participating in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.
Are you wondering what a CSA program is?
Think of a CSA program as buying a seasonal share of a farmer’s produce, meats, dairy, or whatever the yield is. You pay money up front, and then over the course of about 8-9 months you get a box of whatever happens to be in season on a weekly basis. It makes meal planning fun!
In some cases, several small-scale farmers will come together to create a CSA program so that the participants have a lot of different things to choose from. One that I used to participate in even offered fresh cut flowers or loaves of bread as part of the weekly box.
Learn from others!
At the very least, as a country we’re becoming smarter about what’s going on with our food. Community leaders in the blog world like Leah from Mamavation and Lisa from 100 Days of Real Food are great examples of modern activists forging the way for all classes – not just wealthy folks – to gain access to foods that are meant to help us thrive, despite the setbacks created and continued by big companies.
You are what you eat – take the time to educate yourself, and move one step at a time.