Local vs. (Big) Organic
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
Many people say they don't shop at farmers markets because they are not sure that the product they are buying is safe and "organic".
Let me get something off my chest: buying "organic" food is not always the best choice if it is produced by a "Big Organic" farm thousands of miles away.
There are some wonderful local farms who are certified as organic and we applaud them! They are doing good work and should be supported. However, many small local produce and livestock farms take great pains to follow healthy, responsible and sustainable agricultural practices and are not certified as organic, a process that takes considerable time and resources which are sometimes beyond their means.
Most produce farmers that you meet at New England farmers markets follow Integrated Pest Management practices (aka IPM) which means that, unlike large factory farms, they do everything they can to minimize the use of pesticides, instead using mechanical controls (e.g. hand removal of insects) or biological controls (e.g. ladybugs) to keep insects at an acceptable level. Our personal proof: there has been more than one time this season when we've found a slug taking a ride on a head of lettuce we got at the market.
The local livestock farmers we know at our farmers markets eschew hormones and antibiotics for their animals and allow them to graze outside and have much better lives than any industrialized farm.
Contrast these farms with "Big Organic" farms, established since the advent of the organic boom a couple of decades ago. It's true that these farms don't use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. But they do use organic fertilizers and pesticides (yes, they do exist). And often they use the same unsustainable practices as conventional large agriculture, like monoculture farming. And even the most mindfully grown produce loses flavor and nutrients and acquires a huge carbon footprint when transported thousands of miles.
So the next time you go shopping for produce, think about your priorities. Is it taste, nutrition and sustainability? Then your best bet could be with a small, local farmer.
Would you like to know about the practices of any farmer on the Market 2day app? Just drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any question you have and we'll get that info to you as best we can.