The DeLish Bite

Lindsay Evans blogs about food, entertaining and her favourite recipes for Green Living.

There is an ongoing debate out there as to which is better practice, for both our own health and the environment, to eat locally or organically? There are absolutely benefits to both – lets take a better look at each: Eating Locally: 
Eating locally essentially means that you consume food that is grown close to where you live (not necessarily around the corner but in a close region or area). As you are purchasing food that has been grown close to home, it requires less valuable natural resources to get to your table, which is ultimately better for the environment and reduces your carbon footprint. Reasons to Eat Locally: 

 Feel the Freshness: Food which has been grown locally doesn’t have far to travel to get to your table. Because it is fresher, it retains more nutrients and is therefore better for you and your family to consume. It will also last a great deal longer in your fridge and not spoil as quickly! The Taste says It All: Most of the local produce at your farmers market has been picked within 24 hours. It arrives at your table ripe, fresh, and full of flavor, unlike produce from your grocery store, which might have been picked weeks before. Health Benefits: Local food has less preservatives and less possibility of contamination due to the small distance it travels to get to you. The more handling and shipping involved, the more opportunity for contamination and the more harmful preservatives, pesticides and chemicals used to keep the food fresh. Better for the Environment: Eating local is better for the environment. Period. Food which travels long distances to get to you, requires more packaging, refrigeration and fuel, and generates more waste and pollution. Locally produced food doesn’t travel far and therefore has a lower carbon footprint associated with it. Give Back to the Local Economy: When you buy locally, you are supporting your local economy and community by supporting local farmers and food growers. Your money stays in and strengthens the community and creates more jobs. 

 Eating Organically: 
Organic foods are not necessarily grown close to your home – they can be shipped to your grocery store from the vast corners of the world. But they are regulated and controlled better than non-organic foods. Essentially organic foods are grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 
 Reasons to Eat Organic:  More Nutrients for You and Your Family: On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants. Organic milk is naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Vitamin A (Beta Carotene) and certain other antioxidants than non-organic milk.Reduced Health Risks: Organically grown food contains less or no unwanted pesticides and chemicals. Therefore you will restrict your exposure to these if you eat organic food. 
 Higher Standards: The standards for organic food are higher than non-organic. In are legally required to be certified according to the Canadian Organic Standards (COS). Good for wildlife and their environment: Overall organic farming supports more farmland wildlife than non-organic farming. Eating organically results in less pollution, produces less carbon dioxide - the main global warming gas - and produces less dangerous wastes. Great Taste: Organic foods simply taste better. This could be because organic fruit and vegetables tend to grow more slowly and have a lower water content, which may contribute to the fuller flavour some people experience. So, What is The Best Choice? 
 If you combine these 2 ways of eating, you are probably making the best choice, however this is not always easy or economical as much locally grown food is not necessarily organic too. If you must choose between organic and locally produced foods, I would personally suggest locally grown produce as you are eliminating the carbon footprint associated with the organic food getting to you. There are certain foods, labeled “the dirty dozen” which have been found to be higher in pesticides, which are better eaten organic if possible.