You probably already know that organic produce is better for you and your family. But unfortunately, it can be costly and sometimes even hard to find. Luckily, there are options available that let you enjoy organic and local produce, which will not only help keep your family healthy, but your community too.
According to Organic.org, organic farming uses less energy and is beneficial to the local soil, water, and habitat. Besides the fact that purchasing from local farms supports the local economy and allows your family to eat from a variety of produce based on the season, the food also travels a much shorter distance than imported produce, which reduces your carbon footprint.
But the best part is that food at farmers markets actually costs less than at the grocery store. A recent study for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, uncovered that overall prices at organic farmers markets were cheaper than the grocery store version across the board. If you want organic but are on a budget, farmers markets are the place to go.
The American Community Garden Association says, "a community garden is any piece of land gardened by a group of people." They list some of the benefits of community gardens as: improving the quality of life for people who use the garden, providing a catalyst for community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, and producing nutritious food. Working together with others to grow your own produce will benefit you socially, nutritionally, and economically. Plus, it's not as hard as you think.
Food cooperatives are a great way to provide your family with nutritious, organic produce at a lower cost. The co-op includes the farmers and the consumers. Consumers must pay an annual or bi-annual fee to be a part of the co-op. In some cases, the consumer picks up the food from the farmer on a pre-set schedule. But sometimes, the produce can be delivered right to the home. Not only do you get to know the people who actually make your food, you get the freshest local produce and you give back to your community. Plus, if you think the cost is too high or you have a small family and it's just too much produce, you can split the cost and the produce with another family.
Your Own Backyard
Don't forget that there is always the option of your own backyard, although it will take more work on your part. However, there are groups like Backyard Farmers who can help you get started on your path to healthier eating. The obvious benefit to backyard gardening is that you cut down on the cost of your produce immensely. Plus, you can freeze extra produce to consume throughout the winter months, and you are teaching your children valuable lessons. And your children just may be more willing to eat veggies since they helped to grow them.
These are all excellent options for eating organically and locally. Simply figure out which choice, or combination of choices, works best for your family and go from there. Before you know it, you will be eating better and feeling better at a fraction of the cost.