We’ve just gotten through the Presidential Election, but we’re not done yet. In fact, we’ll never be done because we vote every day of our lives… with our forks.
What does that mean? When we buy less than healthy foods, we tell the government and retailers that it is okay to provide us with pesticide laden fruits and vegetables, meats raised on hormones and antibiotics and packaged foods full of preservatives. These foods that fill our local grocery stores aren’t our only option. They may seem more time and cost effective now, but there are unforeseen consequences for eating this way.
I’m not looking to put Kroger and Publix out of business. I simply want them to stock their shelves with healthier options. How do we make that happen? By buying local and natural products when available. Doesn’t that cost more? Yes, for now. But think about supply and demand. If the demand for better foods goes up, farmers and manufacturers will produce more, causing the price to go down. Grocery stores will buy more at a better price and we’ll see the savings as they become more common.
It’s not likely that I will give up this cause. I see the people I love struggle with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, crohns and other ailments that can be caused, triggered or aggravated by diet choices. And I want to do more to prevent others from going through the same things. Electing government officials is our civic duty, but we can’t let election day be the only time our voices are heard.
Voting doesn’t only take place in a election booth. And here are “10 Ways to Vote with Your Fork” courtesy of Georgia Organics.
1. Eat low on the food and marketing chain by buying direct from farmers. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.
2. Stick with organic or sustainably-grown produce when possible. A study found that children who ate only organic produce had one-sixth the level of pesticides in their bodies of those who ate conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Here’s the latest research on why eating organics is the smart thing to do for your personal health, and the health of the environment.
3. Shop at farmers’ markets; they are perfect places to buy all kinds of food, and meet the farmers who are nearby.
4. Join what’s called a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. That’s a long name for a type of subscription to a weekly box of fruits, vegetables and meats produced by a local farmer. Find one that delivers near you by clicking here.
5. Eat at restaurants that procure from and support local farmers. And ask your server where the restaurant ordered its food.
6. Some larger grocery stores now carry local food. Whole Foods, Kroger, and Publix are just three of them. Ask the folks at your grocery store whether they have a local food section.
7. Community gardens are excellent resources for finding and growing local foods. They offer educational tours, courses, and workshops that perpetuate the good food movement.
8. Grow your own. It doesn’t take much space at all to grow your own herbs, and vegetables. And if you have enough space for a bona fide garden, even better. Moreover, backyard chicken coops can keep you in steady supply of delicious, fresh eggs year round.
9. Cook a meal for a neighbor or family member using only local ingredients, and show them how delicious and easy it is to do.
10. Shop smart. Read labels, and if you find an ingredient that you are pretty sure Grandma didn’t use, it’s probably not sustainable, and definitely not produced by a local family farm.