Organic vs. Local
Organic vs. Local
Perhaps no language is emptier than the words we use to label our food. I don’t mean delicious, salty or a little bit overcooked. I’m talking about buzzwords like all-natural, organic, local, cage-free and range-free. With loose laws governing the words that food companies are allowed to place on labels, these buzzwords often lose their meanings. For example, organic doesn’t necessarily translate to environmentally friendly, and it doesn’t always mean that the produce was locally grown. For this reason, it’s high time we unpack this loaded word.
Organic doesn’t always mean higher quality. It simply refers to a set of federal regulations that must be met to earn said title. Now even some synthetic substances are allowed when producing organic food. Although organic might sound progressive, it isn’t a completely honest label. As organic foods became more and more trendy, they were also exploited by big business, consequently spreading cheap, organic produce across the country. The organic apple at the big box grocery store could be from anywhere—though we’ll concede that it’s most likely from somewhere with apple trees. Here’s the rub about organic foods: the average mileage it takes to get them to your grocery store, and the pollution created along the way, essentially negates any potential environmental impact produced by the farming method.
It’s important not to confound organic with local; the two are mutually exclusive. Committing to local food results in a fresher product and a smaller environmental footprint, as the food doesn’t have to travel nearly as far. Most of the time, local actually does mean local, and most small farms adhere to standards similar to those of certified organic farms. Don’t believe us? Ask your local farmer. That’s what we do. One of the chief perks of buying local is the ability to put a face behind a product. That’s the guy or gal your dollars help out. We talk to our farmers weekly.
Supporting local food does more than strengthen your local economy and fuel local pride; it also helps small farms fight back against the corporate entities that have consolidated most of the country’s farmland for profit. Plus, it’s hard not to cheer for the little guy, especially when you can exchange your support for some delicious local eats. If you don’t yet have a relationship with a local farmer, then talk to the guy who knows the farmer (that’s us). We work with a variety of Hoosier farmers who would love to get to know you.