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Organic Or Not, Local Food is Better For The Environment

Lord Mariser
Flickr - Creative Commons

Organic produce in the grocery store is labeled as good for the environment. No pesticides on the produce may reduce soil and water contamination, but organic goods that come from faraway places increase pollution and diminish the quality of those fruits and vegetables.

Buying locally grown food, whether organic or not, reduces the use of fossil fuels and the pollution associated with those fuels. It also bolsters the local economy. A major part of Colorado’s economy is agriculture and we can help keep it that way with our buying power. Food grown nearby is also fresher and tastier.

Local is a relative term. It can mean from your own community or in the region, or simply a shorter distance like apples grown on the Western Slope versus apples from Washington State.

There are a lot of places to find local foods. This time of year you can find a Farmers Market almost every day of the week and most of that food comes from farms in the vicinity.

Community Supported Agriculture farms are abundant throughout the Front Range. These farms offer memberships and subscriptions to support farms and farmers. The members get weekly shares of produce and other foods. Some CSA’s offer working memberships where can help on the farm and grow the food.

Even if you aren't a member, CSA farms often have farm stands open to the public. You can buy fresh veggies at their farms most days of the week. It’s a great way to see urban agriculture at work. Search out a farm stand in your neighborhood.

Ask at the grocery store if they have local produce. You may be surprised how many local products the big chain stores have on their shelves. It’s another way to help make the local economy stronger.

Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
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