General Question

SoapChef's avatar

How important is it to you, for your food to be locally sourced and/or organic?

Asked by SoapChef (2968points) October 13th, 2008

Awareness of where our food comes from and how it was raised or grown has really gained ground recently. Has the farm to table movement changed your buying habits? Are you more inquisitive about the source of your produce and proteins, or is it not a priority? Are you willing to pay more for food labeled organic?

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25 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I mostly eat freezer pizzas and macaroni and cheese. So I don’t really care.

My sister has three kids and she pays a little bit more for organic stuff. But we have tons of organic places around here so the difference isn’t that much. With the cost of fuel some of the locally grown stuff is the same price as the stuff they ship from California.

cooksalot's avatar

Very, by supporting locally grown foods you support local farmers and business. It helps the local economy. If the local economy fails guess what it will have negative effect on you too.

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

IT is very important to me to support local farmers and local economies. My priorities in terms of purchasing is local/sustainable before organic. A great book that is very enlightening on the subject is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Real Food is another book i highly recommend. Having a relationship with someone who grows your food, via the actual farm or your farmer’s market is a much more rewarding deal than buying something labeled in a grocery store as organic. That organic produce or product may have still undergone processing and likely traveled thousands of miles to get to you. So, it may not have been grown with chemicals but it was shipped in diesel trucks creating a larger carbon footprint.

Supporting local farms in this current shit economy is also important to insure there survival. Factory farms are helping kill our planet by consuming horrible amounts of fuel, and releasing tons of chemicals into the environment. And thats not even delving into issues of animal cruelty.

At the same time, it is hard to be perfect. Times are tough, so everyone has to do what they can. I don’t mind paying a little more for my food knowing that I am making an investment towards my health and happiness. I don’t and can’t always buy local or organic. I do think the higher up the food chain, the more important it is. So, i am not as stringent with my purchasing of produce, but I do try to eat local or organic meats as much as possible.

For me, shopping (even browsing) at my local farmers markets is a form of therapy.

laureth's avatar

I eat as much “locally produced” stuff as I can afford. It’s easier when things are in season. I also try to avoid buying “regular” stuff if a local version is available. In the winter, however, that lettuce from California still somehow ends up in our salad bowl.

Organic is nice, but I’d still rather pay a local guy who uses a little spray than for something organic that grew in China. I think the net effect on the environment is still less that way.

Luckily, we have a pretty good Farmer’s Market, and other sources of local food – and we live in a productive state (Michigan). My aunt lives in Las Vegas and the “most local” food is still grown in California. I don’t know how people are going to live in the desert Southwest after they use up all the water and gas gets too expensive. Ugh.

hollywoodduck's avatar

I really enjoy locally grown foods. I find they have more flavor and usually are cheaper. After the farmer’s market season though, I find it hard where I live to find as much local produce so I do the best with what I can. If I had the money I’d buy more organic too.

wundayatta's avatar

It is very important to me that my food be locally sourced. The big reason is taste. I grew up eating food picked five minutes ago. It tastes dramatically better than grocery store food or food that has been around for days or more than a week.

Originally, I started eating organic, not because I cared about pesticides (although I don’t really like them) but because organic food was the freshest around. You couldn’t preserve it like store-bought food. So organic was a way of getting fresher food.

Honestly, I don’t care about organic. The chemicals are the same, as far as I can tell. Sure, I don’t want pesticides to remain on my food, but that’s not my primary concern.

I’m a gastronome. And that’s not a short fat guy with a flatulence problem.

Now, despite that being my primary concern, I am also happy to support local farms. It has so many other advantages. Not nearly as much oil is used if you eat local organic food. There’s less oil to transport the food, and less to fertilize it. So the local movement fits in with my environmental concerns.

In addition, farmers markets are an incredible place. You see all your neighbors. You make all kinds of connections. It’s almost my office away from the office. My market just celebrated its tenth anniversay, and is the oldest continuously running market in the city. There was music and crowds and everything! We’re still better than that upstart market in Old City. They might have more vendors and they might have a hoity toity clientele, but our folks are real. We need the market. It’s not just a plaything for us.

EnzoX24's avatar

Honestly, I don’t give a fuck. This and the whole “Going Green” thing seems more like a fad than anything. I’d be more than happy to support if I felt like people are actually trying to make a difference instead of following the latest trend. I don’t believe non-organic foods are different enough to warrant this kind of response about them. After the Global Warming crisis started waning down in the public’s eyes, it seems as though they are searching for something else to get people to mindlessly assault.

boxing's avatar

It is indeed important to support locally sourced food.

As for organic food, some do make sense, some don’t.

For fruit and vegetable, just wash them thoroughly.

Organic processed food does not make much sense at all.

For meat, it does make sense, but price difference is too big for most people.

For milk and eggs, buying organic does make a lot of sense.

Remember, it is not just about pesticide, the worst things are growth hormone, antibiotics and genetic modification in livestock.

jvgr's avatar

I’ve never been overly concerned for any philosophical or health reasons, just taste.
I prefer fresh over preserved
I prefer local over long distance
eg I love fresh corn, but until I can buy it at the nearby farm, I don’t bother because corn’s flavour deteriorates rapidly.
I love summer fruit, but won’t buy any until it is available from the closest possible source.

forestGeek's avatar

@EnzoX24 usually people mindlessly following trends is disgusting to me too, but this one, well, I don’t feel that way about it. If people want to follow this one, we should be all for it because at very least they will save some oil since local grown isn’t shipped across country or world, they will start thinking about where there food comes from, they will support local small farms instead of corporate global factories and they will likely eat healthier. Think about the smaller affects, at a more local or personal level, not at a global level, because they are NOT going to save the planet. Following this local farming fad, can actually make a difference!

EmpressPixie's avatar

It is very important to me, but in a strange way. It is very important to me to buy my food from the local farmer’s market. It is really close and has only organic, locally grown foods. It is important because:
1. I’m a total foodie
2. As a total foodie, I love being able to go look at really fresh, ripe produce
3. I love being able to talk to the stall workers about the food, find out what I should do with this or that I’ve never used before, and maybe try a lot of new things.
4. It’s cheaper often
5. It’s a part of the weekend that I really, really enjoy.
6. Much of the food (especially the milk) is significantly better (even in a blind taste test)
7. I don’t have a car and the nearest grocery is a mile away. It’s easier to carry stuff back and I’m lazy.

So it is very important to me to shop at the local farmer’s market. I’m lazy and love really good, fresh produce. It’s not about saving the environment for me, it’s about eating really well, cheaply, and without having to lug a week’s worth of groceries back from Jewel.

karenk's avatar

Not important to me.

To be quite honest, I was born in the 70’s and stuff you found in your grocery store was just fine by me. This whole “organic” stuff is just a way to charge a lot more money for the same product.

cooksalot's avatar

Even if you don’t care about organic you should care about purchasing from local farms, and businesses. It’s called micro economy. Dr. Holland would be so proud I was awake to remember this lecture By supporting the local economy you keep the money circulating within your local economy. Because if local businesses and farmers start to go bankrupt you will soon live in a dead town. A lesson I wish a certain town leadership around here would get a grip on instead of driving businesses away. and they wonder why unemployment is so high here right now DOH!

forestGeek's avatar

@karenk, is it really the same product? No! Genetically altered plants and pesticides did exist even in the 70’s, but I’m willing to bet nowhere near like it does now. It’s interesting to see the things Americans will spend top dollar for, to ensure we get the best. Americans seem to want the best car, computer, TV, etc, and will pay top dollar for them, but then don’t seem to concern ourselves with spending a little extra on the health of us and our families. Organic is not the same product! When it comes to health, Is it really that much more expensive?

oceansmist's avatar

It’s a very important issue to me, especially since I live in a city that is oddly known for its support of locally owned and operated businesses before larger chain stores. I utilize our local farmer’s market as often as possible to support my local economy as well as get organic food grown by the local farmers. And yes, if it’s more expensive to do that, I am still willing to get my food there.

cooksalot's avatar

@oceansmist sounds like Portland Oregon. I think buying local organic is a growing trend through out the US. Just think a lot of other countries are going “Took you long enough!”

cooksalot's avatar

Just a little trivia on this. Did you know that there is corn that has been genetically altered by combining human saliva cells with the corn? Lovely info someone gave me that got me growing my own ORGANIC corn this year. Next year we will probably quadruple the crop.

laureth's avatar

cooksalot – do you have a citation for that? Not badgering you, it’s just that I’m the curious sort and I hadn’t heard that about the saliva/corn.

cooksalot's avatar

OH gosh it was something that came up while poking around. It sure grossed me out though.

oceansmist's avatar

@cooksalot—I’m actually down in south Texas but there’s so much produce coming into the area from Mexico and other countries (no offense to any other countries) where crops are continually exposed to pesticides so it has become a major issue. I just try to buy and eat the healthiest items possible for my own well being and if it costs a bit more, well, it’s worth it rather than risking long-term health possibilities. I don’t expect everyone or even anyone to agree with me—it’s just my opinion and besides, I live my life in the best way possible for me, not for anyone else.

spresto's avatar

I don’t know. What is the exact definition of organic foods. Grown by who? Produced with what products: soil, water, special plant growth formulas??????

laureth's avatar

@spresto – The definition depends on who’s doing the certifying. You can find information on the standards set forth by the USDA here.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I will never pay more for food just because it claims to be “organic”. For centuries we’ve been eating the same old food that the groceries stores offered. Now there is all this hype about “organic” food. Who cares! It never hurt us in the past. Why worry about it now?

EmpressPixie's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217: Actually, for centuries we’ve been eating organic food. It is only recently that we’ve had the technology to farm in the now conventional method.

From Wikipedia: Organic foods are made according to certain production standards. For the vast majority of human history, agriculture can be described as organic; only during the 20th century were a large supply of new synthetic chemicals introduced to the food supply. This more recent style of production is referred to as “conventional,” though organic production has been the convention for a much greater period of time.

Also, the grocery store of today is vastly different from the grocery store of even thirty years ago.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@EmpressPixie Regardless of how long organic food has been around I still refuse to pay more money for something because someone slapped a sticker on it that says “organic”.

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