Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why Eat Michigan Organic Food

Today I came across the Eating Oragnically Guide (pdf) from the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance. It was a nice guide on organic sources of food. Below I have posted a few excepts that I thought provided good summaries on why you should eat organic and how to start eating organic.

Why you should eat Michigan Organic Food:

1. Freshness & Taste. Locally-grown fruits and vegetables are usually harvested within 24 hours of being purchased. Local Farmers grow and raise foods for their taste and nutrition, not for durability in harvest, shipping or storage.

2. Nutrition. Nutritional value declines as time passes after harvest. Because locally-grown food is fresh, it is more nutritionally complete. Studies indicate that organically grown produce has more of certain nutrients.

3. Cost. Our globalized food system produces cheap food, but it costs more than you think. We all pay the price when Farmers can’t grow crops at a profit, when water wells are contaminated by agricultural chemicals, and when store-bought foods look good, but are tasteless. When you buy local, organic foods, you get more for your money.

4. Avoid the Unknown. Produce grown with banned pesticides is imported into the United States. Meat may come from animals raised in confinement and fed hormones or antibiotics. Organic foods are produced and processed under special standards. Organically-raised animals have outdoor access and don’t get antibiotics or hormones. Organic crops are grown without the use of toxic chemicals and without GMOs.

5. Regional Food Self-Reliance. Dependence on distant and global food sources leaves us vulnerable to supply disruptions. When you buy foods from local Farmers , you create a relationship of mutual support that enhances a community’s economic vitality, and keeps family farms alive.

6. Protect the Environment and your Health. Farming with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can cause water pollution, and leave unwanted pesticide residues on the food we feed our families. You can protect our natural resources, your health

I also found their Eater's Pledge to be a good place for most people to start:
  • Spend at least 10% or $10 of my weekly food budget on locally grown and made organic foods and/or those carrying the Michigan Farmers Pledge.
  • Buy food directly from local farms that are either certified organic or have signed the Michigan Farmers Pledge as often as possible.
  • Choose local organic or Farmer’s Pledge foods when possible and other local foods when those are not available.
  • Learn to eat seasonally, enjoying fruits and vegetables at their proper time.
  • Encourage locally owned food businesses to buy local organic and farmers pledge products and patronize them when they do.\
  • Try at least one new locally grown fruit or vegetable each week.
  • Preserve fresh seasonal foods to enjoy later in the year (freeze, can, dehydrate).
  • Plan at least one meal each week featuring local organic or farmers pledge foods for family, friends or neighbors.
  • Choose regionally grown/produced and/or fair trade foods when organic or farmers pledge local foods are not available.
If you are looking to start buying at least a few organic items per week, I found the local harvest website a great place to start when looking for places to get organically grown local food.

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