Eating Organic and Local Food
The power of decisions- VOTE NOW!!!
Many people wonder what the big deal is about eating local & organic foods?! This is a very important issue not only speaking as a Naturopathic Doctor but also as a citizen watching more of our food being imported & local farms/orchards closing.
Look around your grocery store and you will see much of our food is grown or produced out of our province & country. The problem with eating these foods is multi faceted including financial, environmental & health implications. When purchasing foreign food we provide less financial support for our local farmers causing farms to change their crops to a more profitable harvest (which is obvious if you visit the Okanagan valley). In turn this results in less local crops being available on the market, less for the large supermarkets to purchase and therefore less for us to consume – a snowball effect that is better for everyone involved to avoid. The environmental consequences of eating foreign grown or produced foods are great due to the large amount of fossil fuels used for transportation. Many foods are imported from tropical destinations thousands of kilometers away. When food has to travel a great distance it is picked unripe which will improve shelf life however reduces the taste and nutritional quality of the food item. Additionally, there may be different standards for pesticide & herbicide usage in different countries potentially resulting in more chemicals being used on foods from other countries. Food produced in other countries may be enticing because it is tropical, cheaper or more accessible however we must also be mindful that relying solely on these foods has negative impacts as well.
While living in the North it can be challenging to find local foods year round, however you may be surprised how much is available if you look. Local foods that are accessible for the majority of the year are items that store well – root vegetables, squash, apples etc or are grown in greenhouses in the Lower Mainland. Living in the North we are dependent on other areas to grow most of our food however even selecting foods grown in BC will provide great impacts. Eating locally grown food when it is available can make a significant impact on reducing fossil fuel consumption from transportation, supporting local economy & community efforts as well as getting to know new people within your community. Selecting organic food will also reduce the amount of chemicals on the food & the environmental implications associated with these chemicals. Some easy ways to incorporate local & organic foods are to: frequent farmers markets, buy a weekly organic food box, plant a vegetable garden (herb pots or a garden- it all makes a difference), read labels when shopping & ask stores to carry BC produce & organic options. In this case consumerism can bring change- your purchase is your vote!
Dr. Nicole Zutz BSc, ND