Years ago, people went to one market or general store to pick up all of the groceries and household items on their shopping list. Today, we have a variety of choices when it comes to purchasing food and beverages, from super stores and warehouse clubs to farmers markets and joining a CSA in your community.
CSAs and farmers markets are similar in that both offer local, homegrown produce to customers at prices that are often much cheaper than at the grocery store, however they can differ in price, convenience and quality depending on where your food was grown. Regardless of whether you shop at a market or join a CSA, you are receiving fresher, higher-quality produce because it hasn’t been treated with the chemicals or preservatives necessary to mass-distribute and ship it around the world.
What is a CSA?
CSA, or community-supported agriculture, is a program that lets you purchase “shares” from a farm in exchange for a weekly delivery of fruits, vegetables and other farm products like milk, eggs and dairy.
If you aren’t satisfied with the cost or quality of the produce at your local grocery store or can’t make it to a farmers market, joining a CSA program is a way to ensure that you have the fruits and vegetables you need to prepare healthy meals.
Typically, farmers will sell “shares” to the public, which may include fruits, vegetables or other types of farm products like milk or eggs. Consumers can either pick up or opt to have their shares delivered directly to their door and receive a weekly box or bag of seasonal produce.
“I’ve been participating in an individual CSA with my farmer in upstate NY for the past three years,” said Anne Maxfield, entrepreneur and founder of The Accidental Locavore. “It’s been a wonderful experience. Besides getting the freshest possible produce from a farm where sustainable farming is the standard, I’ve been exposed to all sorts of vegetables (and some fruit) that probably wouldn’t have made it into my shopping cart at the supermarket.”
As an answer to our globe’s growing population and increasing meat consumption, scientists in the Netherlands are very close to debuting their meat grown from stem cells of healthy cows. The scientists have been working to grow muscle tissue from a small number of stem cells they’ve extracted from the cattle.
As awkward as this process sounds, the researchers believe it’s going to be beneficial for the world. As the trends lead us to believe that the world’s meat consumption is expected to double by the year 2050, this man-made meat will be able to be produced without the need for livestock.
When it comes to the meat and poultry aisle in the grocery store, how much do consumers really know? Words like “mechanically separated” and “all-natural” can be convoluted, so we talked to some of the experts at Coleman Natural Meats to decode some of the most confusing labels that we see on meat packaging today.
Certified Organic: While organic food arguably offers some health benefits that conventionally prepared foods do not, an organic designation is not one-size-fits-all. In the US, any item that was made entirely with certified organic ingredients can be labeled “100% organic.” Products that contain 95% organic ingredients can use the word “organic” on their labels. Any products that contain 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled “made with organic ingredients.”
Words like “sustainable,” “eco-friendly,” and “green” have become daily utterances in our vernacular. In a recent issue of Whole Living magazine, they discussed 50 ways to eat sustainably. We took 10 of our favorite suggestions from their list and compiled them into our own.
Today, eating, living, breathing and doing with a greater mindfulness of how our actions affect not just ourselves, but our community, world and planet has never before been so urgent. And since it is the small actions we do on a daily basis that accumulate to a greater and more long-lasting benefit, the choices you make in your everyday eating and cooking practices can have a profound effect on the health of our bodies and Earth.
Make a commitment to follow one, five or all of these sustainable eating tips and notice the subtle changes in your world: