Recent buzz words in food and nutrition – organic, local, and sustainable describe ways of producing or consuming food. Unfortunately, the majority of the food supply and therefore the majority of our purchases do not consist of organic, local or sustainable foods. Why is this important?
Organic vegetables, fruits, dairy, eggs and meat are produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic hormones or antibiotics. Eating organic foods as much as possible decreases your exposure to toxins. See 10 Reasons to Go Organic .
Buying local means buying food (usually produce) that’s in season and from farms in your area (or your own backyard). Due to the growing popularity of the “buy local” movement, locally-grown produce is increasingly available in grocery stores, but the best place to find local produce is at your nearest farmers’ market. Seasonal, fresh-picked produce has more flavor, more nutrients, and is better for the environment than produced shipped from across the country or overseas. See 10 Reasons to Buy Local .
Sustainable food refers to food that is produced in ways that does not harm the environment or human health, and is economically fair to farm owners and workers. Visit Sustainable Table’s Reasons to Eat Sustainably .
Doesn’t organic and “natural food” cost more?
It’s true that organic foods typically cost more than non-organic foods; however, the health benefits of decreased exposure to toxins can potentially save you healthcare costs in the future. Also, food co-ops , CSAs , and the increasing availability of organic produce in conventional grocery stores are making it a little more affordable to buy organic.
Some foods are more likely to contain pesticide residues, synthetic hormones or antibiotics (dairy, eggs & meat). In order to save money at the grocery store, you can focus on buying organic when it comes to these particular foods. See Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce .
Check Out These Links to Learn More
10 Reasons to Go Organic 
10 Reasons to Buy Local 
Eat Grub’s Take Action Resources 
Eat Well Guide 
Food Declaration.org 
Gourmet Magazine’s Q&A with Michael Pollan Author of In Defense of Food 
Local Harvest 
Michael Pollan on Democracy Now  (audio)
Shopper’s Guide – Most Important Items to Buy Organic 
Slow Food USA 
Sustainable Table 
Tips for Responsible Carnivores – Chow.com