You can buy food locally without it being organic, and you can buy food which has been shipped in from another country and it's the highest quality of organic you can find. So how do you tell the difference and how does it help you to make the right choices about the kind of food that you're buying and eating? Let's take a look at some of the differences between organic and locally grown food.
What are the main characteristics of organic food?
In order to compare organic and locally grown food, let's first look at some of the main characteristics of organic food, regardless of where it's grown or sold.
Chemical-free: This is one of the main reasons why people buy organic food. It isn't sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals like many non-organic foods are. Chemicals are often used to preserve the life of non-organic food, making them last longer and sell better, but this comes at the expense of our health and the environment.
Animals are allowed to freely graze: In order for meat to be certified as organic, it must pass a certain set of tests. For meat, this includes letting the animals have the recommended amount of grazing space for the duration of their lives. This ensures that organic meat has come from animals which have not been squashed in cramped living conditions and deprived of natural grass sources.
What are the main characteristics of locally grown food?
Let's now consider the main characteristics of locally grown food to understand better the relationship between organic and locally grown foods and where their similarities and differences lie.
It is grown by local farmers: As the name suggests, the main attraction of locally grown food is that it is grown in the nearby area by local farmers. People are attracted to this since they are confident it has been grown in an area which they know and are familiar with. Lots of shoppers would rather by locally grown foods than foods from a supermarket.
It may or may not be organic: This is the key difference between organic and locally grown foods. While food marked and certified as organic is always organic, locally grown food isn't organic by default. Some farmers do not grow foods in an organic manner, and should have a responsibility to inform their customers of whether their foods are organic or not.
So what are the differences between organic and locally grown foods?
As you can see, locally grown food isn't always organic. If you're trying to live an organic lifestyle, don't just assume that your local farmer is trading organically. Ask if the food products that are selling are certified organic, and if not, it might be time to shop elsewhere.