These days anyone who is interested in eating healthy and caring for our environment knows that organic food is the way to go. But do we really understand what organic means? Yes, organic food is grown without exposure to harmful chemicals, but to truly be considered organic there are other factors which need come into play.
One of the main parts of organic agriculture is actually the health of the soil and ecosystems in which livestock is raised and crops are grown. The idea of organic agriculture stems from an ancient theory that a healthy, natural environment will greatly benefit the crops and will then benefit the health of the consumers. Organic growing gives and takes from the natural ecosystems, being an overall betterment to the environment as opposed to the damage which is done by large scale chemical based agriculture.
Though produce is the number one product which is looked for when people shop organic, it is also important to find pastured (grass-fed) meats, dairy and eggs. These come from animals which are raised on pasture instead of being kept in confinement and fed a diet made up primarily of grains. Pasturing lifestock and poultry is the traditional, humane, and most ecologically sustainable method of farming these animals and provides us with the most nutritious products.
When grocery shopping, keep an eye out for labels which read "certified organic," "transitional farm," or "grass-fed". And as usual, shop local. Most cities across the country have some sort of weekly farmer's market. Farmer's markets are one of the best places to buy local, organic produce and often times at lower prices than you would find in a grocery store. If you are buying for the best taste, nutrition, and environmentally friendly products you can find, organic is by far the best way to go.