Food & Fitness

Local or organic?

A question I get asked a lot these days is, should I choose local or organic? The answer would likely be “both!” but sometimes you get one without the other, and then you have to make a decision. Which is the better option?

First we should differentiate between the two. For the sake of argument, we’re talking about organic certification and local small farmers when we refer to “organic” and “local” in this article.

fresh vegetables

Do you know where your produce comes from?

Personally, I go with local over organic if I need to make a choice, and here’s why:

  • Organic doesn’t mean healthy. You can still get white flour cookies in a box shipped from thousands of miles away, filled with unhealthy ingredients, and they might be called “organic.” In that sense, “organic” isn’t very useful. “Local” is, however, going to be all natural ingredients; even if it’s white flour, you still know that it’s real food.
  • Organic can create a bigger carbon footprint. There’s some debate over this one, because of the transportation required to go from a farm and then to drive to various local food stores in the city, but something tells me it’s still not going to add up to the immense miles that organic could potentially be associated with.
  • Local contains less preservatives. As a general rule, local food is going to be pretty darn fresh. But just because organics don’t use pesticides, doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be unhealthy ingredients in the packaging of the product. Something to think about!
  • Local gives you the opportunity to talk to your farmer. I love that with local food, you can visit the farm, and talk to the farmer directly about how the food is grown and what their animals are fed and such. You can build a relationship with your local farmer and find out everything you could ever want to know about your food! You can’t necessarily do this with organic food.
  • Organic certification is expensive. There are many small local farmers who cannot afford to get organic certification, but their animals are still free-range and they don’t use any pesticides. “Almost organic” small farmer local food is preferable to me than organic certified food shipped from far away that I don’t know much of the background about.

What about you? If you have to choose, do you go for organic or local? Why? Share in the comments section below!

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3 Comments

  1. asithi

    I also think you need to take into account how the two labels are being use right now. For example, food companies are using “organic” as a marketing tool to sell more food products such as organic cookies or organic chips in some cases. While local is manly use for produce and meats. When you think local, you still associate it with the local farmer’s market. The giant marketing companies have no yet to spin the local label to sell more food products.

  2. Amy Pearson

    Organic and eco-living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resource and their own resources. Altering your methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet are ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

  3. Yum Yucky

    I definitely choose local, and there just happens to be a local farm stand I keep driving by buy have yet to visit. Terrible thing is, I’m seeing more of the remaining farm fields around here being sold to developers. Ugh.

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