Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Local vs Organic, and All Your Other Green Questions

Posted Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 at 8:49 am on AltDaily.com
by Amelia Baker

For the past few months, I have written about green topics that are relevant to my life and my interests.

I’m certain that you have perplexing green queries I have yet to address, so ask away. In addition to the bi-weekly green perspectives I dish, I’m excited to be able to take your questions or concerns and share my greenie knowledge with you.

That’s not to say I’m proclaiming I know everything there is to know about environmental stewardship. I don’t. But what I do know is that I have a pretty darn good base, a quality network of eco-minded folks and resources, and the desire to educate.

Not sure where to start? Need a nudge to jog your memory about bewildering eco topics? Let’s go with the basics. Send me any and all questions you have about recycling. What does my city take…where does recycling go…why can’t I recycle this or that. Anything you can think of about recycling, send it over.

Is it better to eat local or organic? First, kudos for pondering this ever-so-important question. The question of supporting the local movement or the organic trend is highly debated among environmentalists, scientists, and everyday folks. No matter which you decide, you’re choosing right because you’re supporting healthier growing practices.

Though organic foods don’t use pesticides, chemicals, synthetic matter, or genetically modified materials to grow food, the largest of organic farms are located in California a mere 3,000 miles away, which means that your food takes a cross-country journey on a tractor-trailer. But, it’s organic which is important to support.

Local food may or may not be organically grown, but it’s romantically produced from your neighboring farmer. Here is where the scales tilt for me. I know the farmers who grow the food at our local farmer’s market. I know the process of being certified organic. The majority of farmers who graciously deliver produce to our farmer’s market practice organic farming methods and just aren’t certified and that’s okay with me.

Certifying farms to done the USDA organic seal entails documenting a complete history of substances used on the farmland for the past three years which usually requires a lull in farming for three years and most working farms can’t halt production for 12 seasons to abide by this step.

The huge benefit of eating local means you’ll patronize farmer’s markets, shortening the time from which food is harvested to the end-use when it’s prepped for your dinner plate. And perhaps the most important feature of local eating is that you’ll eat seasonally by default which makes your tasty produce less expensive, planet-friendly, and healthy.

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