What’s with all this hype about buying food from local farm stands and signing up for farm shares or knowing where food is coming from? Isn’t it easier for people to walk into a grocery store and load up on the family groceries there? Arguably, a one-stop shopping trip to the grocery store to grab packages, boxes, bags, and containers of food for the week is efficient enough to put food on the table. But is this the type of energy we want to be feeding our bodies and minds with? Are we paying attention to what exactly is in those packages, boxes, bags, and containers of food? Why would we care and does it matter?
The truth is, sourcing intelligently (locally, sustainably, mindfully etc.) is extremely important to not only our personal body system but to our family, neighbors, country, and Earth. The difference between your town farmer and some large farm corporation is that the farmer here has YOU in their best interest while the other simply does not. Big corporations are going to do whatever is cheapest and yields the most for them. This leaves an unnerving amount of room for corporations to use questionable practices when it comes to making the food they sell.
Really think about the term, “you are what you eat”. Aren’t you curious to know what exactly you are eating or what you are eating was eating? So much of our food is being designed by food scientists instead of grown by farmers. Author Michael Pollan calls these highly processed foods consisting of mainly corn, soy and chemical additives, “foodlike substances”. Same goes with the feed given to meat and dairy producing livestock. What your meat and dairy animal is given to eat eventually turns into what we eat making their diet equally important to ours. You can’t ask the package of meat at the grocery store how it was raised but you can ask the meat farmer at your local market how they raised the meat they are selling.
Our government does not subsidize a wide range of food or even healthy food for that matter. Our government pays for farmers to maximize production and since our food system revolves mostly around corn, this explains why we never see TV commercials advertising local farmer’s markets or fruits and vegetables. A general rule of thumb is avoiding foods that are advertised on television because 1) more than two thirds of food advertising is spent promoting processed foods, 2) whole fruits and vegetables generally do not come with packaging which means they can’t promote false food claims and 3) no packaging generally means that the food is whole and therefore only one ingredient instead of a list of ingredients containing many words that most people cannot even pronounce.
And yes, the farmer’s market can be expensive compared to your everyday grocery store. However, you will either be paying for your health now or paying for it later. The less we spend on food, the more we will end up spending on health care.
So why are we talking about buying intelligently and why is it important? It is important because you are important. We are given one body and one chance on Earth so make it the best experience with fueling your body with the best foods and not foodlike substances!