Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Localvores... a growing trend that's good for us

With all the talk of building and buying green, how about eating green? There's a growing trend (or maybe I'm just late) of people who only want to buy local or nearby food and produce. They are called "localvores".

According to a Canadian researcher named Vicky Blatt, "If you’re buying green, you should consider the distance food travels. If it’s travelling further, then some of the benefits of organic crops are cancelled out by the extra environmental costs."

We try to buy at minimum 90% organic, to make sure that we're not putting dangerous chemicals in our bodies, but this localvore concept adds a whole other layer of awareness that's important too. According to localvores.org and the guy's relentless research, organic produce is "racking up" more miles than conventional produce in many cases.

So, what do you do? Whatever you can, really. Awareness is always the first step. Read signs in your produce department and buy things in your state as much as possible. It supports the local farmers, economy, and reduces your carbon foot print. What better way? Also, if possible, try to get at least these fruits/veggies as organic, as they are the most pesticide ridden of the bunch. Known as the Dirty Dozen, conventionally grown peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes contain the highest levels of pesticides, according to the Environmental Work Group (EWG), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C.

Also, try going to your local farmer's market! They are a joy to go to, reminiscent of how people used to shop in the old days. Produce is fresher and mostly organic. We have 3 great farmer's markets here in Austin where they sell other wares, baked goods, hormone-free, grass-fed meat, raw or low pasteurized milk, cheeses, as well as the vegetables at usually way less than Whole Foods (in Austin, where they were founded, there's a local motto for them, "Whole Foods, for the healthy and the wealthy").

Besides making our own garden for our consumption, there's still something you can do to be as green as you can!

And something interesting to know for you carnivores, have you ever tried grass-fed meat? I'm a foodie, and its out of this world. You see, cows by nature like and want to eat grass. That's what they are supposed to eat until farmers started feeding them grains and hormones to fatten them up. Cattle aren't even designed to eat grains (who knew!) and also aren't supposed to be fat creatures! Look at these lean guys.

Even organic meat isn't as tasty. Because even though they are eating organic grain feed, it's still GRAIN FED. And not only that, grass-fed meat has more Omega-3 fat and is naturally more lean too! I just made tacos with grass-fed ground beef, and couldn't believe the taste difference.

The best would be to get grass-fed, no hormone/antibiotic free beef. Trust me, you'll never go back. More information on grass-fed beef, go here.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

... we call it "Whole Paycheck" around here.

I go there to buy their peanut butter, as it is 1/2 the price of anywhere else in town. EVERYTHING else is 2x as much though. Weird.

It's a hard thing to think about... is it better to buy organic or local? I mean, if there is a choice. At our local farmer's market, there is only ONE stand of organics. LUckily, it's the peppers/tomatoes people... and we eat a LOT of peppers and tomatoes.

Have you ever considered joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? I'm looking into one to see if it would be a good match for our family. It's organic and local food... but you don't "choose". I'm a picky eater...

Guy said...

A great read regarding how we have become "children of the corn" is 'Omnivore's Dilemma'. Now I'm reading 'Kitchen Confidential'. I may never eat (with my eyes open) again.

Jan & Myleen said...

Thanks for the suggested reading, Guy!

Jennifer, there is a list of recommended fruits/veggies that you should buy organic due to the high pesticide content on them. Known as the Dirty Dozen, conventionally grown peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes contain the highest levels of pesticides, according to the Environmental Work Group (EWG), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C.

There is a list at
http://www.checnet.org/healthehouse/education/quicklist-detail.asp?Main_ID=241

Also, bananas and oranges and other "peelable" fruit you don't have to be as concerned with pesticide content, so you can go local on those.

I agree that Whole Foods is becoming so inaccessible to the average person, which is unfortunate. But I think what you put in your mouth and in your body is worth the extra money. That's how I see it. What's funny is that in the Philippines (where I'm originally from), they go organic because it's cheaper for them! Farmers don't have the money to buy the chemicals and the farmers are a lot smaller, so they don't try to overproduct.