How often do you walk into a grocery store for fruit and veggies and fresh meat? Look at all the rows of food. See the mom and her kids grabbing a pack of apples and caramel before soccer practice. There’s a dad getting barbecue for the big game. Most people think that if they buy fruits and veggies from the local store they are eating healthy, and if the meat is freshly cut there can be nothing wrong with it. Most people believe that what they bring to the table is good. But it might not be as good as they think. Even ‘healthy’ foods these days are treated with chemicals and many are genetically modified so they are bigger and more colorful and do not spoil as quickly. They are also genetically modified so they are not affected by the insecticides that are sprayed on the crops. We are therefore eating all these chemicals and insecticides. The only way to get around this is to eat organic. But finding organic is not as easy as you may think. Especially in small or more rural towns.
Recently my mom and I needed to pick up a cookie-cake for my brother’s birthday and a few grocery items at our nearest ‘big’ store which is about twenty minutes away. Towards the back of the store is the ‘Organic’ section. Seeing some of my favorite non-genetically modified brands back there always makes me happy.
I love that this store has an organic section.
I love this place too, but we never have time to drive here. Mom replied.
I wish every store had an organic section that sourced local food. How can we make that happen?
Many people would be tempted to say: Does an organic section even matter? People are just too picky! What I would say to that is, it’s not that people are picky, they just know the importance of buying locally grown food with no GMO or added chemicals. To learn more about the importance of this check out my previous article: Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer.
Grocery stores can’t lie, but they can make up, or not mention, things. For example in the apple section at the local grocery store there is an advertisement that says: Dried Fruit Chips – Cranberries grown in the USA – No added Sugar. What about how they added artificial coloring and artificial flavors? Or that the other fruits came from out of the country and use chemicals?
If there was an Organic section in all local grocery stores, people would KNOW that everything they eat out of it is approved and legally organic. People who are willing to take the time to eat healthily will not have to drive long distances to find organic produce. It would be easier and convenient to pack healthy lunches and eat locally produced food at every meal. People will be better educated as to the natural colors and taste of produce.
I believe it is very important to have an organic section at a grocery store but if it’s a small store and a whole section is not possible at least the store could try and source and clearly label foods in the fruit, veggie and deli section as organic. So how can we organize this?
I believe that the more people are educated about this topic the more likely they will want to buy food from this section and share to each other and to their local grocery store how all of us can benefit from buying locally grown, organic food. If more and more people want organic and locally grown food maybe local grocery stores will start listening.
Carrie York is a middle school farmer with a mission to educate her generation on the necessity to create sustainable farming practices and encourage people to support farmers’ markets and community supported agricultural options. See her other articles on this blog.