We talk a good amount in the vegan circles about the health benefits of a plant-based diet. And they are all true, as it is a healthier lifestyle. However, with many crops contaminated with GMO's and pesticides, there is the issue of what kind of fruit and veggies we are eating. Obviously, organic products are better than non-organic, but what to do from there?

About organic: It is always best to buy from stalls at the Farmer’s Market that say “Certified Organic”, however some local farmers say that the paperwork is too extensive and expensive, but that that they are organic, not using pesticides on their produce. With GMO’s being such a challenging issue right now, it is best to buy what you can first from Certified Organic growers, and then buy from the other growers as long as you trust them.

The truth is that it is highly important to know WHERE your food comes from. When we see something at a store, we have little idea really where they come from. I bought an organic Arkansas black apple from a Whole Foods Market recently, and, while I knew it was from Arkansas, I really had no idea about the farm it was grown on, the farmer who tended the soil, or the growing methods they used on the farm.

This is why I most always go to a local Farmer's Market to buy my produce.  At a Farmer's Market, we can develop a relationship together and get to know the farmer, and, by extension, know the produce itself better. We can ask about their growing methods, and get a better feel about our food. It also brings us closer to the food product, which makes it that more pleasurable to eat.

We are lucky in this respect. In other countries, it can be a dangerously risky enterprise to buy local vegetables (for example, click here). In America, we can usually find a market reasonably close. Not only does buying from local growers help the local economy, which it does, but it also gives us a sense of community, which is invaluable. Having that sense of community makes it a more pleasurable shopping experience, and helps us spread important information about the food products, and any issues the food industry is currently dealing with.

So, remember, whenever possible, buy local produce from a local grower.  Both the freshness and quality are lush and amazingly delicious. Rather than shipping the produce and sitting on grocery shelves for periods of time, it goes from farmer to fork. Your body’s health and your taste buds will appreciate the quality and freshness.

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Well, dear friends, we lost the battle known as Proposition 37. Due to a campaign by Monsanto and their bio-tech bullies.. known for it's depths of deceit, the state of California has decided not to make labeling products used with GMO's mandatory.

It's a sad day, of course, but I want to make sure everyone understands one thing: this isn't over.  Sure, products will not be labeled, making it harder for those of us who are health conscious to know what's safe for us to buy. It's not a good thing, but it isn't the last.

While the war continues, we can still look for labels on many products that are marked “Non GMO verified”, and show support for the movement by buying these products whenever possible.. Farmer’s Markets are good places to shop for produce, especially if you get to know your farmers. The main products to be aware of are: Soybeans (Tofu, Tempeh) , Corn, Sugar Beets, and Zucchini. All processed foods, even those saying organic, do not have to be 100% organic unless it is
stated exactly as such on the package.

There are plenty of pluses to discuss from having Proposition 37 on the ballot. For one, the publicity surrounding GMO's, due to the proposition, was at an all time high. This means that people who had no idea what GMO's were, or the problems associated with them, have a better chance of knowing now. Since the campaign began, I've had friends and social media acquaintances ask about this food-stuff, and get educated on the problems inherent in modifying our food choices. And these aren't just people in California, but all across the nation. Public awareness has grown a great deal, which is a step in the right direction.

Second, the publicity showed many across the nation just the depths to which food
manufacturers will go to hide what they put in the food they sell. Many, even those who aren't vegetarian, are disgusted by companies spending $41 million dollars, in a near depression economy, to lie to us about our food choices. While they may not have known before, they do for sure know now what these companies really stand for, and how they operate.

Perhaps most important, politicians now know that this issue is dear to the hearts of many. It's difficult to say what this will bring, but that knowledge will hopefully get our leaders to act in our best interest, in regards to this issue. Remember, our leaders answer to us, not the other way around. It's time now to make our voices heard that much LOUDER. This is an important fight for not only
ourselves, but for our children, and our children's children.

We may have lost this battle, but it's only one in an ongoing war against GMO's. Do not forget that, and do not lose hope. We are here to fight another day. And fight we shall.

P.S. On a side note, my husband and I have been simplifying what we eat, mostly using products such as: Organic grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts/seeds. We have cut out any processed food that doesn’t state “GMO free” And we are only eating out in those restaurants that we trust as being organic.  And we have never felt better!