What a perfect time to be writing about this topic. Right now, it’s September in Southern Ontario which means harvest season! I’ve been spamming my Instagram feed with pictures of colourful, ripe, local produce that I’ve been getting at the farmer’s market every week.
I’ve talked a lot in previous emails about why it’s important to buy local and why it’s important to make your own meals. I’ve also talked about why eating local food can have a huge impact on the environment, on your health, and on your wallet. If you’ve been practicing since week 10, you’ll know that eating locally grown food takes an adjustment but is well worth the effort. Hopefully you’ve started making trips to the farmer’s market or found a local CSA to support. (If not, here’s an extra nudge to get started.) If you have, maybe you’ve gotten a chance to talk with some of the local farmers in your area about the food they produce. Learning about where your food comes from is important and rewarding, but if you’re ready to take it a step further, let’s talk about learning HOW your food is produced.
Sustainable agriculture, certified organic, ecological farmers – there are a lot of terms out there that can help guide you towards buying food that is grown sustainably. According to this website, “sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.” That means that the farmer is thinking about more than just their crop and their wallet, they are thinking about the environmental impact of farm processes, how animals are treated, how the farm is impacting and integrating the local community, and a whole lot more. Organic certification (which is a standard which takes a lot of these issues into account) measures HUNDREDS of different factors on a farm. Not all ecological and sustainable farms are certified (it is a lot of work!) but all certified farms have to adhere to a strict set of guidelines that are outlined by your country.
Here is a great resource if you’re ready to start learning more about sustainable agriculture:
If you’re having trouble finding a sustainable source of local food, here are some directories that should help you find what you’re looking for: