Some of my favorites things of summer are fresh local produce. Everything tastes so delicious!
Going to our local farmers market or local farmers roadside booths or even supporting major chain grocery stores that purchase from local farmers, has so many healthy benefits.
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Someone once asked me why do I advertise at my Eatery at Indigo Lounge, that we buy local and organic? Why is that important?
Part of our mission statement at Indigo Lounge Wellness Centre is that we offer products and services that are sustainable and organic. Our shop products such as organic herbal teas and body care products are natural, chemical free and environmentally conscious. At the Café & Eatery, we purchase much of our food from local, organic farms.
Again, why is local, chemical-free and organic important when possible?
Not only is the food fresher and more flavorful, it has more nutrients and is better for our bodies! Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly and locally grown food, purchased and eaten soon after harvest is a much better option than eating produce that has been travelling for miles on a truck only to line the shelves of a big chain supermarket for weeks afterwards.
Also, it allows us to support the businesses of local farms and there is certainly no shortage of fantastic farmers and fresh markets in our area. The more support we give to our community farmers, the more likely their success and therefore our access to delicious, seasonal and local fresh foods.
There is also a huge impact on our environment.
Local farm support decreases the amount of transportation fuel and pollution put out into the world. Buying and supporting local organic farms expands the supply and demand of these crucial farm activities and that decreases the amount of carbon blueprint, toxic chemical use in our land and water systems and increases our health through the digestion of chemical free wholefoods. In turn, this promotes a healthier community and decreased health insurance costs.
There are over 39 countries that have banned genetically modified (GM) crops. Looking for non-GM farms or seeds for your own garden has been studied, research finding that it is a much better health choice to eat non-GM.
There is something very lovely and “Little House on the Prairie” growing your own organic and/or chemical-free garden. Going out to pick some leaves off your kale for a fresh salad is so tasty and fresh. That is unless some local bunnies don’t get at it first, like they did in my garden! Add a freshly picked tomato and fresh herbs. Honestly, it just doesn’t taste any better.
And let’s not forget that if we have any scraps or waste of produce that this can be made for great use for our earth as well!
Oxford County offers the purchasing of green cones composting for compostable waste. These cones work with the sun to absorb solar energy and create heat that circulates between the wall. Decomposition, already creating its own heat, speeds up even more with the abundant oxygen and warmth. The basket, open to the soil provides drainage and access for hungry worms, bugs and bacteria. This helps soils hold or sequester carbon dioxide. In addition to emission reductions, composting replenishes and revitalizes exhausted soils by replacing trace minerals and organic material and reduces soil erosion. It is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gases.
Composting also saves water by helping the soil hold moisture and reduce water runoff. It benefits the environment by recycling organic resources while conserving landfill space.
In our programs we teach the importance of our pollinator gardens and that pollinators such as bees, insects and butterflies are crucial for sustainability.
Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining the habitats and ecosystems that many animals rely on for food and shelter. Worldwide, over half the diet of fats and oils comes from crops pollinated by animals. They facilitate the reproduction in 90% of the world’s flowering plants.
Pesticides seem to be one of the leading speculated causes with American scientists finding 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen. At my business and home, we do not use pesticides in our landscaping gardens or on our lawn.
Global honeybee population is a major threat to crops estimating a third of everything we eat depends upon pollination, with bees contributing over $15 billion to the agriculture industry every year. With 90 commercial crops worldwide dependent on pollination (apples, onions, and coffee for example) we could be threatening a third of our food, not too mention increasing our carbon footprint by reducing the number of carbon consuming plant life.
Speaking of bees, let’s chat about our local honey farmers for a moment.
Honey has been used as a natural sweetener for thousands of years. Today, local honey is still used to improve food and drinks, and many people also use it as a way to maintain good health. Raw, local honey contains many enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body needs – and it may even help prevent seasonal allergies.
So, enjoy the remaining asparagus season, step into the delicious current strawberry season and get ready for the few couple of months. Take a beautiful country drive and find your dinner at a roadside stand. The summer and fall are packed full of delicious, local crops coming to fruition!
(Happy Healthy YOU is a wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast! If you would like to see an article on a specific topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).