Celebrate National Organic Week by eating local and in season
In honour of National Organic Week (September 20-28), we’re celebrating local food and farmers!
Many of us would like to incorporate more organic fruits and veggies into our diet, but are put off by the high cost—especially if we’re feeding a family. But buying organic doesn’t mean we have to break the bank. Shopping for organic produce is an affordable option when you eat local and in season. (To find out what fruits and veggies are in season this fall, download BC’s seasonal produce chart.)
Locally grown food tastes better, is better for you and the environment and supports BC's farmers!
Here are just a few reasons why you should think about eating local this fall:
- Locally grown food is full of flavour. When grown locally, fruits and veggies are picked at their peak of ripeness. You may wish peaches were in season year-round, but the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from your local grower, farmer’s market (find a farmer’s market near you) or grocer. When they’re in season, they’re full of flavour and taste better than ones that may have traveled thousands of miles, been picked before they were ripe and flash-frozen.
- Locally grown food is better for you. Because seasonal foods are picked at the peak of freshness, they offer higher nutritional content than out of season, unripe fruits and veggies. Local food has also travelled a shorter time between harvest and your table, meaning it’s less likely that the nutrient-value has decreased.
- Locally-grown food supports the local economy. Chances are the money you spend on food grown close to home is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
- Locally-grown food is sustainable. Organic farmers rotate crops to increase soil fertility, control pests using beneficial insects instead of toxic pesticides and use sustainable composting methods to dispose of organic waste.
- Locally-grown food is better for the environment. Eating with the seasons and purchasing local foods helps to protect our planet because it reduces the number of miles your food has to travel before it reaches your plate. This helps cut back on the amount of fuel used, which reduces pollution.
- Locally-grown food promotes a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source, the more chances there are for contamination.
Here are a few more tips on how to save money when shopping for organic foods and products:
- Shop at your local farmers’ market or buy directly from the farm
- Join an organic produce co-op with family, friends or neighbours (here’s a great list)
- Eat in-season produce
- Eat less meat and stock up on beans and legumes
- Grow a vegetable garden in your backyard or join a community garden. Don’t have access to outdoor space? Tomatoes, peppers, herbs and microgreens can all be grown in pots or planters!
Did you know that the YWCA grows its own local produce? Our Rooftop Food Garden is a model of sustainable development in the heart of Vancouver, yielding more than 700 kilograms of produce each year! The fresh fruits and veggies are then used to prepare nutritious meals for YWCA single moms and their kids. You can help us keep the garden in bloom by donating to the project.