The prevalence of genetically modified items in the food supply has caused many people to seek out ways to eat more organically. Here are five steps to eating a more organic diet:
1. Go to farmers’ markets.
Buying locally-grown produce when the food is in season gives you great food and supports the farmers who grow it. Join a CSA–Community Supported Agriculture–if possible. You can buy a share in a local farm’s output and share in the risks and rewards of the growing season right in your own neighborhood. Some CSA farms will let you exchange weeding and tilling labor for food. You can see for yourself how everything is grown. Since not all farms are big enough to warrant organic testing and certification, you can still find organic food that is not officially labeled as such. Look for farmers that have taken a pledge to refrain from using hormones, chemicals, and other unhealthy methods of growing food.
2. Stay away from soy and corn products unless they’re certified organic.
According to the Center for Food Safety, over 91% of soy and 85% of corn products on the market are genetically engineered. Foods containing corn oil, cornstarch, corn syrup, soybean oil, and other similar items are in many food products. Read the labels and be intentional about what you ingest.
3. Grown your own food.
You can rest assured you’re eating organic food when you plant and harvest your own vegetables and fruit without the use of chemicals, pesticides, or human manure laced with prescription drugs. Start a seed swap with your neighbors so you can try different varieties of heirloom seeds. Create your own compost from vegetable peelings and other table scraps. Rake or till into your soil manure from local cows, horses, chickens, goats, and sheep. Be sure that the manure is aged first, as adding fresh manure to soil could potentially burn the crops with its density of nutrients. Use wood ashes to enrich your soil because they add minerals to the plants you eat, supplying your body with the elements it cannot produce by itself.
4. Buy locally-produced organic milk, cheese, eggs and meat.
Animals that are permitted to roam freely, humanely treated, and free from antibiotics generally provide food of higher quality and better nutrition.
5. Stock up on seasonal food and preserve it for later.
Enlist your family to help can, freeze, dry, pickle, and ferment food to make it last throughout the winter.
With good planning, you can eat a more organic diet!