Welcome to August!
We hope this blog provides you and your family light, inspiring information on your food shopping choices… organics vs. conventionally grown vs. seasonal/locally grown food and farmers’ markets. It is the time of year to enjoy the fresh seasonal produce in your region. Búon appetito!!
Local vs. Organic
Salad Of course, it is always preferable to buy locally grown, organic produce—the best of both worlds. But, many of us have been faced with the dilemma of choosing between the conventionally grown apple from the next town and the organically grown apple from the next continent.
While organically grown foods are free of the usual pesticides and other residues found on conventionally grown produce, local fruits and vegetables retain more of their nutritional value on their shorter voyage to your dinner table and this short commute is better for the environment. And, with all of the current political positioning as to what can and what cannot be labeled “certified organic,” local foods are a known quantity and growing in popularity.
In fact, the joy of shopping at a local food coop or farmers’ market is that the farmer is usually accessible for questions about his/her specific agricultural practices. At Bambú Clinic, the docs do support the local food movement, even over the organic food movement.
The reasons for this preference are varied and include ideas related to sustainability, nutrition, taste, and economical rationale. In other words, by eating local foods you will be taking care of the environment and the economy and your foods will taste better and nourish you more completely. Jennifer Maiser has written a terrific article entitled “10 Reasons to Eat Local Food” which more specifically lists the benefits of this choice.
The governor of Oregon has proclaimed the first week in August to be “Farmers Market Week.” Here in Portland, we are lucky to have a multitude of farmers’ markets-one for every neighborhood and for every day of the week. See the link below for their times and locations. For those of you who are not so lucky, here are some websites to help you ferret out locally grown foods that are not on the shelves of your local supermarket.
Even if you are not from the Pacific Northwest, check out the local Portland websites. The creativity that is happening here is inspiring and may spark an idea of your own.
Local Harvest: a database of farmer’s markets, community gardens, community supported agriculture, and farms in every region of the country. Just plug in your zip code and start feasting.
Urban community gardens: Learn how to create and manage a local community garden of your own.
Portland Farmers’ Markets: Look for the Season Schedule link to find a market in your neighborhood.
Portland Fruit Tree Project: a local Portland group that catalogs city-wide fruit trees in private yards. This group will maintain and cultivate the fruit for you as long as you share.
Growing Gardens: This non-profit builds organic, raised bed vegetable gardens in backyards, sideyards and balconies in Portland, OR and encourages the exchange of this homegrown food between individual gardens.
Urban Edibles: a community database of wild food sources and cooperative network of wild food foragers in Portland, OR.
To learn more about the local food movement, consider these books …
Coming Home to Eat by Gary Paul Nabhan
One Phoenix man commits to limiting his diet to only those things which can be produced within a 250 mile radius of his home. This book documents his experience.
This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow
A lovingly written look at the current food marketplace and the inherent irony in a food production system that makes it more affordable for Northeasterners to buy food shipped in from California than to buy food from their own home states.
this organic lifecoming home to eat
We hope you found this information helpful. We strive to help our patients find a healthy way in the world. If you have topics you’d like us to address in future issues please let us know. We are always available for questions and comments.
The Physicians of Bambú Clinic