Regardless of their politics, most folks across the country today want to support their neighborhood food producers. Locally sourced and prepared foods boast superior nutrition because regional ingredients are picked when they’re ripe, take a shorter trip from farm to table and — for the small businesses in this guide — are prepared without a barrage of preservatives, artificial flavorings or chemicals. In other words, it’s real food.
Here are some of the best food stories we came across this week:
- Starbucks Vows to Stop Using Dye Made from Beetles – The coffee behemoth has been using a red dye made from ground beetles in a number of its beverages. It will be phasing the dye out and replacing it with lycopene, a tomato-based extract, by the end of June. Continue reading
Every few months, it seems, another report or bit of evidence comes out to prove the benefits of organic farming.
Earlier this year, a major United Nations report came out stating that chemical-free agriculture could actually double food production in developing countries within a decade. Natural methods, like planting tick clover to catch pests and high-canopy trees to shade coffee groves, would build healthier, more self-sufficient land over time, the report found, thereby making it easier to withstand periods of draught and flood, and even pests and weeds.
Now, a Rodale Institute report (PDF) on the longest-running study of organic farming, which compared organic and conventional farming side-by-side for 30 years, finds that organic yields eventually surpass conventional, while also being more financially and energy efficient. For example: A striking 94 percent of soybeans and 72 percent of corn grown in the U.S. are genetically modified (GM), according to the USDA, and yet, on average, farmers who cultivated GM crops earned a third of organic farmers’ annual profits. The Rodale report also shows that pesticides used on conventional fields compromise farmworker health and contaminate soil and water.
In a nutshell: organic farming is better for farmers, better for the environment, and better for the health of food producers and consumers.
Do you make it a priority to buy organic fruits and vegetables? What are your favorite places to buy organic?
Tip: Search our restaurant directory for NYC restaurants that serve organic food. L.A. listings are coming soon.