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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