Georgia Organics is a non-profit organization that works to integrate healthy, sustainable and locally grown food in to the lives of all Georgians. Each year Georgia Organics produces Local Food Guide, a tool for those seeking local and sustainable food across the state. Here are some interesting facts from this years guide.
$20 Billion – the amount Georgians spend on food annually , $16 Billion - the amount that goes to out of state producers
20% – the amount of US food that ends up in landfills
40% – the increase in the amount of antioxidants found in organic fruit and vegetables compared to non-organic
892% – the increase in the number of organic acreage in Georgia since 2004
$25 – the amount re-spent locally for every $100 spent at conventional grocery stores, $62 – the amount re-spent locally for every $100 spent at a farmers market
1500 - the average number of miles that food today travels from farm to plate
6th – Georgia’s rank in vegetable production in the US
2nd - Georgia’s rank in the nations childhood obesity rate
1.1 million – the number of barrels of oil that America’s oil consumption would be reduced by per week if every US citizen ate one local meal a week
6,132 - the number of farmers markets operating in the U.S. in 2010. A 16 % increase from 2009.
I think that the most impressive figure is 892%, the increase in the number of organic acreage in Georgia since 2004. This proves that organic foods are growing in demand. Which fact surprised you most?
Source: Georgia Organics
Emagazine.com features an “Earth Talk” column which answers questions about the environment. A Sustainable LIFE will occasionally share some of these Q&A’s with you.
Dear EarthTalk: What’s the nutritional difference between the carrot I ate in 1970 and one I eat today? I’ve heard that that there’s very little nutrition left. Is that true?
—Esther G., Newark, NJ
It would be overkill to say that the carrot you eat today has very little nutrition in it—especially compared to some of the other less healthy foods you likely also eat—but it is true that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.
What can be done? The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Alternating fields between growing seasons to give land time to restore would be one important step. Also, foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favor of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers.
UT’s Davis warns that just because fruits and vegetables aren’t as healthy as they used to be doesn’t mean we should avoid them. “Vegetables are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals,” he reported. “They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these.”
View the response in its entirety @ Emagazine.com
Check out 11 year old Birke Baer talking about our current food system. What if everyone was this informed?????
The Huffington Post lists the Worlds Largest Farmers Markets and guess who made the list? The Dekalb Farmers Market (DFM) at #12. Located just 25 miles from Life University the DFM features a restaurant, fresh produce and seafood.
The DFM produces a variety of specialty items which are all-natural and free of preservatives. This includes fresh and healthy pastas, soups, cakes, pizzas and sauces. While you’re there, look for the “Market Favorites” or “YDFM Brand”, which are made from scratch. The DFM prides itself in using organically grown and non-GMO ingredients. They also support small farms that employ humane, environmentally responsible and sustainable production methods.
The DFM is open from 9am-9pm and accepts cash, debit, check and EBT.
SustainableTable.org celebrates local sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues and works to build communities through food. The website also includes a “Buy Sustainable” tool which will find local, sustainable and organic food within your zip code. Sustainable agriculture is a hot-button topic in today’s society….what does sustainable agriculture mean to you? Where do you get your favorite fresh, locally grown products?
Farmers’ Markets are known for their locally grown, fresh fare. The great thing about buying local goods is that it lowers the carbon footprint of the meal. The closer the food is grown to your home the less it has to travel, saving fossil fuels used to bring the meal to your table.
Check out this website find a farmers’ market near you. This site includes markets in metro Atlanta and all around the state.
In the last post we explored organic foods. Organic foods are thought to be healthier due to the lack of chemicals introduced during the growth process. But we also know that organic foods are more expensive and don’t always fit into our budgets. So how do we know when to upgrade to organic or if conventional foods will do?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently revealed their 2010 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides. This guide ranks 49 fruits and vegetables including the Clean Fifteen (the fifteen foods least likely to test positive for pesticide residue) and the Dirty Dozen (the twelve foods most likely to contain pesticide residue).
Clean Fifteen (#1 being the Best)
- Sweet Corn (frozen)
- Sweet Peas (frozen)
Dirty Dozen (#1 being the worst)
- Blueberries (Domestic)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
- Blueberries (Imported)
- Green Beans (Domestic)
How do your favorite fruits and veggies rank on the shopping guide? Does this sway you one way or the other regarding organic fruits and veggies?
You walk into the grocery store to buy produce and you must make a choice $0.99/lb for organic bananas or $0.64/lb for conventional bananas. How do you decide which to buy? Is organic food really that much better for me than conventional foods? What about my budget, can I afford organic fruit?
The organic food program in the US is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the USDA organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that have not been given antibiotics or growth hormones. In order for foods to be certified organic they must be grown without the use of “conventional” pesticides or synthetic fertilizers or sewage sludge. (Sewage sludge can be used to introduce valuable nutrients back into the soil.)
In order to be considered organic, a farm must be inspected by a government approved certifier to meet USDA standards. After organic products leave the farm they are handled and processed by various methods. All companies that process organic foods must also be certified.
The Mayo Clinic gives a good comparison of organic vs conventional foods.
How do I know that a product has been certified?
Product that contain 95-100% organic materials can contain the USDA organic seal.
Does natural mean organic?
NO! The only way to know that a product is truly organic is to be an informed consumer and look for the seal. Terms like “hormone-free”, “free-range” and “natural” should not be confused with organic.
Still too much information to digest….moneytalksnews has great clips on getting more bang for your buck when buing organic and dives into the organic vs natural debate.
So you have to make the choice for you and your family. Think you like the idea of purchasing organic products but don’t feel like you can justify the costs? Next we’ll explore which organic foods to choose if you can only choose a few.