It's amazing to me that people argue organic vs. local when it comes to their food. Is organic only for those who don't want toxins in their bodies, and local is reserved only for environmentalists who weigh their food miles? It's actually best that we all strive to be eating local AND organic food, by choosing what's in season. Our grandparents ate "organically" and locally, and they cleaned without chemicals too. Wow, that makes sense! I always got along famously with my grandparents, so as they are amazed with the "progress" of our world, I am interested in some regression back to how they lived as kids. It's great that we have a lot to share and learn from each other.
Now, let's nip this argument in the locally grown, organically cultivated bud and move forward (or was that backwards?).
It's fresher -- shorter time from farm to table (especially if it's from your own garden!)
It's tastier -- do your own taste test...as an aside, if your food needs to travel far, it's bred to withstand a longer shelf life and is usually picked before it's fully ripe
It's healthier -- retains more nutrients and has less preservatives and additives because long distance travel is not required
It's environmentally sound -- long distance travel requires more packaging, refrigeration, fuel to get to table, and generates more waste and pollution (did you ever wonder how produce arrives from Mexico without bruises and without being rotten?)
It's cheaper -- less middlemen, less marketing and less transportation costs
It's neighbourly -- money stays in your community, creates jobs and supports local farmers
It's tastier -- again, I suggest doing your own taste test...but without all of the synthetics, it's just pure unaltered delicious food
It's healthier -- higher levels of vitamins and minerals and less exposure to chemicals and synthetics
It's environmentally sound -- my farmer friends (meet one of them here!) have given me lots of reasons, but simply, crops grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and GMOs mean fewer of these items are being produced and fewer are being released into our soil and water
Keep in mind, your money is your voice. With every dollar you spend, you are telling that farmer, or that restaurant, or that supermarket, or that company to make more of the same. YOUR wise choices are a benefit to us all!
If you want to know what else I keep in my kitchen, flip through my Guide of Kitchen Essentials.
<a href="http://www.ciatnews.cgiar.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Ghana_ivory_coast_climate_change_and_cocoa.pdf" target="_hplink">A report released by the International Center For Tropical Agriculture </a>warns chocolate could become a luxury item if farmers don't adapt to rising temperatures in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where a majority of the world's cocoa is grown.
Coffee lovers may want to get that caffeine fix before the treasured drink becomes an extinct export. Starbucks raised the issue last year when the company's director of sustainability told <em>The Guardian</em> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/16/starbucks-climate-change_n_1011222.html" target="_hplink">climate change is shortening the supply chain of Arabica coffee bean</a>.
Famed for producing some of the world's best beer, <a href="http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080502/full/news.2008.799.html" target="_hplink">Germany could suffer from a drop in production due to climate change induced water shortages</a>. Barley and hops can only be grown with water and using cheaper alternatives like corn isn't possible in Germany because of strict regulations about what you can make beer with.
Thanks to a failing peanut crop due to last summer's scorching hot weather, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/peanut-butter-price-jump_n_1003732.html" target="_hplink">there's a shortage of peanuts in supply</a>. If temperatures continue to rise, a jump in peanut butter prices is just the prelude to what's in store for the beloved American spread.
Scientists at the British Meteorological Office warn that Italy may soon be forced to<a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/climate-threat-to-italys-pasta/story-e6frg6so-1225797946930" target="_hplink"> import the basic ingredients to make pasta because climate change will make it impossible to grow durum wheat domestically</a>. The crop could almost disappear from the country later this century, say scientists.
<a href="http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/goodbye-maple-syrup-climate-change-pushing-sugar-maple-out-of-northeast-us.html" target="_hplink">A warming climate could make maple syrup history.</a> Shorter cycles of below freezing weather mean sugar maples aren't producing enough sap, which is later boiled down to make maple syrup.
<a href="http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/Hone/Hone-03-30-2012.pdf" target="_hplink">It's no secret that bee populations are dropping nationwide</a>. Wetter winters and rainy summers make it harder for bees to get out and about to collect, leaving them to starve or become malnourished and more prone to other diseases. This doesn't just mean a decline in honey. We rely on bees to pollinate crops. When bees disappear many food crops could also die off.
<a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/best-served-chilled-top-french-wines-at-risk-from-climate-change-a-748139.html" target="_hplink">France is losing its enviable climate for grape growing</a> thanks to a shifting climate. Because a wine's taste is a result of the balance of sugar and acidity in the grapes it is made from, the right growing temperature is essential. Grapes grown in cold are unlikely to develop fruity flavors, giving an acidic taste. Warm weather produces too much sugar, leaving a "jammy" and heavy taste.
This trailer for "Carbon Nation", documentary movie about climate change SOLUTIONS, will impact you even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don't buy it at all.
Follow Lisa Borden on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lisaborden