Many of my posts shed light on consumers getting duped by food companies trying to appeal to their concerns disingenuously. “Cage-free” eggs, fake health food, “all-natural,” etc. I don’t know about you, but I often find this information disheartening and overwhelming, because then I’m faced with the seemingly giant task of figuring out what’s really true and what I should buy. I could take a nap just thinking about it.
Luckily, there are ways to make responsible shopping easier. One big way in particular is to Buy Local, (when possible).
Local food is often better for the earth, community, local economy, and sometimes your family’s health. But another big benefit is transparency. When you buy stuff made by a big corporation far away, you have little insight into how exactly it was made or grown. [Though I feel compelled to say: there are many amazing big companies who use their experience and resources to produce healthy food responsibly and sustainably. Big doesn’t equal bad – it just requires a little more research on our part].
When you buy locally, you can talk with the seller, owner, grocer, or farmer. Sometimes you can even go visit the farm where your food is grown or produced. When you see what’s happening and talk to the people providing you with food, you suddenly have more control over your food buying decisions, and will feel a sense of relief and reassurance.
Local food also connects you to the people and businesses in your community, so stronger ties are formed and community members feel more of an investment in the place where they live, as well as in their food.
Sure, there are local farms and food producers who do not follow sustainable practices and who don’t prioritize your family’s health (and similarly, big companies that DO do these things), but a brief conversation will often reveal that, so you can decide to purchase elsewhere.
Moral of the story: there’s hope, and you have more power than you think. When you start to feel overwhelmed, just remember: do your best, don’t obsess, and start small!
Megan (The Lyons' Share)March 29, 2014 at 7:18 am
Great post! This is one of the many reasons I love the Farmer’s Market so much. Even if it’s not certified organic, you can often find out that the produce is grown without chemical fertilizers/ pesticides, but because of the size of the business they haven’t invested in certification. It’s a little out of the way to get to the Farmer’s Market (and requires an extra stop) but I do it when I can!
Amelia WinslowMarch 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm
So true, Megan! I try to buy as much as I can from the market, then supplement with grocery store things – as opposed to the opposite. But I realize I live in Southern California where it’s very easy to do this 🙂