How to Get Inexpensive Organic, Locally-Grown Vegetables

This report in the San Diego Union-Tribune examines the differences between the foods grown at small, local, organic farms and conventional food shipped in from another city or another country. The local food has stronger colors and aromas, and tastes better as well.

There are more than 5,000 local farms in San Diego County, which generated $1.4 billion in business in 2004. Most (92 percent) of the farms are family-owned, and 63 percent are smaller than 10 acres in size.

More than 300 of the farms are organic. A farmer interviewed for the article emphasized the importance of starting with good soil; he uses a mixture of "compost tea" that includes water, compost and molasses poured onto his crops to feed them nutrients.

The customers of small local farms include restaurants, farmers' market patrons, and dedicated customers who purchase the food through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, in which the food is bought directly from the farm.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Here are some great resources to obtain wholesome food that supports not only you but also the environment:
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Community  Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Farmers' Markets
A national listing of farmers' markets.
Weston A. Price Foundation
The goal of the Weston A. Price Foundation is to restore nutrient-dense traditional foods to the human diet through education, research, and activism. In order to achieve their goal, the foundation supports accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture feeding of livestock, and community-supported farms.
Local Harvest
This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals
The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
The FoodRoutes Find Good Food map can help you connect with local farmers so that you can find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSA's, and markets near you.
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
Chicago's only sustainable market with the highest quality locally farmed products. May through October. (Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Located at the south end of Lincoln Park, north of the Historical Society parking lot between 1750 N. Clark St. & Stockton Dr.

Although small organic farming is especially hard work, organic farmers enjoy all the health advantages of eating, tasting and even smelling the best food in the world: their own.

Eating organic food is a powerful way to ensure that your food has not been genetically modified and will optimize your health. Also:

  • Where conventional farmers apply chemical fertilizers to the soil to grow their crops, organic farmers feed and build soil with natural fertilizer, which is far more environmentally friendly and less likely to cause any long-term complications.

  • Conventional farmers use insecticides to get rid of insects and disease, while organic farmers use natural methods such as insect predators and barriers for this purpose.

  • Conventional farmers control weed growth by applying synthetic herbicides, but organic farmers use crop rotation, tillage, hand weeding, cover crops and mulches to control weeds.

    The result? Conventionally grown food is often tainted with chemical residues, which can be harmful. Pesticides can have many negative influences on your health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of your endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women.

    Additionally, conventional produce tends to have fewer nutrients than organic produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce. Studies have found significantly higher levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and significantly less nitrates (a toxin) in organic crops.

    Demand is high for organic foods these days, but a problem many people have with organic food is the expense. However, a diet based on whole organic foods does not have to be cost-prohibitive for the average family or single consumer. One way to keep costs down is to visit farmers' markets and use Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

    Another advantage of doing this is that, when you buy local food, it is fresher since it did not have to be transported many pointless miles to get to you. This improves both its health value and its taste.

    If you're on the lookout for fresher, more natural sources of raw foods or more reasons why you should stay away from substandard, cheap factory food, I urge you to review my newest resource page, supporting the great need for sustainable agriculture with many links.

    + Sources and References
    Post your comment
    Click Here and be the first to comment on this article