Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
Sustainable Food. Locally Grown Food. Certified Organic Food.
Sole food is not the same as soul food; it is sustainable food, certified organic food, locally grown food that is ethically produced; the acronym is SOLE. Organic food benefits provide a good reason to eat healthy (for you and the planet).
SOLE food, or sustainable, organic, local, ethical food, is exactly what it sounds like. It is usually found at your local farmers' market, not at your grocery store, no matter how its labeled. In fact, its not labeled as SOLE at all.
The interest in food with SOLE is growing, and leading the interest are restaurant chefs around the world. Chefs are building their menus around food that is 'close-to-home', fresh, healthy, tasty and produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
If you have a favorite neighborhood restaurant that you frequent, talk with the owner, manager, chef and/or servers about adding SOLE food to the menu. If customers want it and ask for it, you will see this significant more interest in providing food, and meals, grown with SOLE.
Sustainability has a broad definition: it is about societal, environmental and economic well being. Therefore food that is grown in using sustainable methods needs to consider:
Sustainable food is grown by farmers that rotate their fields in a responsible manner, use organic fertilizers and no pesticides. (By organic fertilizers it means exactly what you think it means, compost and usually manure. The best is usually horse and chicken manure.) Rotating the crops keeps the fields from becoming fatigued which means higher yields. Higher yields mean better crops.
By maintaining sustainable farming methods, farmers are helping to maintain the environment in and around their community. By using all natural fertilizers, they are not polluting the water tables or the air, nor are they adding anything that may harm the produce or the people eating the produce. The produce also just tastes better too.
Locally Grown Food
By buying the produce at roadside stands or the farmer markets, you are getting the locally grown produce fresher than anything that you will get at the supermarket which may have been shipped from all over the world. What comes from the supermarket is usually picked very early and force-ripened. Often there is very little flavor to it.
If you have never tasted something that has come from a farmers' market or a roadside stand, you need to -- the flavor is amazing. Fruits are sweeter; and vegetables have more flavor and vitamin value than anything you will find anywhere else. Not to mention that these fruits and vegetables have traveled less than a hundred miles from where they were picked.
Grass fed beef is more tender than grain fed beef since cows are grazing animals by nature. Cows that are commercially raised are in feed lots from the time that they are six weeks old and are put on a diet of (almost exclusively) corn with bovine growth hormones to make the cows grow faster so that they can be brought to slaughter earlier.
Organically farmed beef, chickens, turkey, pork and other meats are not fed growth hormones, antibiotics, or other chemical additives. Often these organic meats are higher in cost, and focused on niche markets 'close to home'.
Certified Organic Food
Organically farmed and raised meats, dairy, vegetables, and fruits are at the core of foods grown with SOLE. To-date there is no labeling for sustainable, organic, local and ethical foods (SOLE) however there is labeling for certified organic food.
Organic certification standards are set by national organizations such as the USDA, the U.K's Soil Association, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and numerous other international organizations in Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and more.
Suppliers have to prove that these products are grown in an organic manner.
Ethically Produced Food
From free trade practices which ensure that the farmers are paid a living wage for their labors, to raising and slaughtering meat animals humanely, the ethics of SOLE food is just as important as the methods of growing it.
The SOLE food movement does not only apply to the local farmer but to large corporations that are trying to enhance not only how we eat, but also to change how we see food in general. It is a healthier way to live, and better for the environment and society.
What's New: Grow, Shop, Cook and Eat Organic
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