Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
One of the biggest concerns we have as a family and that we have heard others express is making sure that our food is as healthy as possible. What that means to us is that we try to grow as much of our own food as possible and purchase what else we need from trusted local growers. In some instances we do visit local markets to find other products or produce that we need if we aren’t growing it or can find it at one of the local farmer’s markets.
One thing that we look for if we are buying at a local market is some kind of verification that the product was grown in an organic matter. What we see most often is a Certified Organic label or a label or description stating the product was organically grown. Certified Organic produce means that a produce farm has applied for and received special certification from the government, indicating that the vegetables or other products have been grown without the use of pesticides, synthetics and chemical fertilizers and hopefully do not contain genetically modified organisms. There are several different levels of USDA Organic labeling that makes the search for good food a little easier. The USDA has identified three categories of labeling organic products:
Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows:
“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”
There are problems with the USDA Certification though and many people are concerned that Genetically Modified foods and even some synthetic products are being allowed under the “Certified Organic” umbrella. This has led many people to question the validity of the certification and some growers and producers have opted out of the certification process all together due to these issues and the bureaucracy involved in the process and have chosen to identify their product as “Organically Grown” rather than certified by any government agency.
Ultimately we have to make the best choice for ourselves and our family when it comes down to it. What we all need to do is become informed. We need to learn where the food we are eating comes from and what is in it. We need to take responsibility for our health by making wise choices and sharing the benefits of eating clean food with our extended family, friends and acquaintances. When it comes to buying the produce and products that we cannot grow or make ourselves we need to develop a relationship with the growers and producers in our area and learn about their process so we can make an educated choice. Next time you go to the Farmer’s Market or your local food market ask questions. Learn about their product by asking about their method of fertilizing their produce or feeding their animals and about their pest and disease control methods. It is worth the extra time and effort so we can be as healthy as possible.
With all of these concerns it can become a little consuming to always be worried about the issues involved with our food. At the end of the day we just need to do the best we can without losing the joy that comes from eating really good food. If we can keep that outlook and attitude we will do just fine.
Please visit us when you have some time and give us a little feedback. Thanks for reading.
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