Local vs. Organic Food: Which Is Best?

Oct, 15, 2014

By Fredrica Syren:

If you stand in the grocery store, holding two apples, and one is locally grown and one is organic, which is the right choice? Of course buying local organic food is the best option always, but when the decision is about local OR organic food, it’s a personal choice based on health concerns, environmental and social reasonability.

Local food, of course, means it’s been produced nearby and has not been traveling by plane or boat from another country or state.local broccoli Around us, there are many farms that produce beautiful meats, vegetables, grains and fruits; and the best part is that these foods travel less than hour to get to my local farmers’ market or grocery store. Since it’s local, the food is super fresh because it usually is picked the same day. The impact of food traveling long distances is huge and causes tons of green house gasses that cause global warming. Buying local food also supports local farmers, which has its own benefits.

When we support a local farmer, we also support and strengthen our own community. Buying local also supports the local workers who did the planting and harvesting; the companies that provide equipment, seeds, and service; and the local markets that sell them. However, the negative is that local food farmers might use methods that cause huge damage to the environment and/or our bodies, or that might not be very sustainable. And the animals might not be humanely raised.

Organic food is food produced on a farm committed to agriculture methods that are environmental friendly. This means no use of toxic pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, unnatural feed, and antibiotics. The farmers must meet thorough government standards. Organic food may travel long distances, which creates pollution, thus possibly outweighing the positive environmental effect of organic farming. The more demand there is for organic food, the more organic farming practices will grow, which is so good for both us and the environment.

I believe it’s so important to try to eat local and seasonally, and get over this whole thing that we need to eat kiwis or pineapples that have traveled across that world to be sold in our stores. I try not to buy food that has traveled across the world, even if it’s organic.

Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)

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