Why Buy Sustainable?

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In last week’s post, Sustainable vs. Industrial, we compared sustainable farming with industrial agriculture. This week, we have eight reasons why you should buy sustainable.

1. Tastes better. This is what convinced me to eat local sustainable and/or organic food. Many people believe that sustainable food simply tastes better – but you won’t know until you try it yourself, so might want to do your own taste test. Buy an organic or local sustainable apple and one of those large, waxed perfect-looking apples in the grocery store that come from a large industrial farm. Compare and let us know what you think!

2. Healthier. More and more health benefits are being found with sustainable food. Pasture-raised beef, for example, has two to six times more of the Omega-3 fatty acids needed for heart health and optimal brain function than grain-fed industrial meat. Eggs from pasture-raised chickens are not only higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, they’re also lower in cholesterol and calories. Organic fruits, vegetables and grains contain higher levels of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

3. Environment is protected. On a sustainable farm, animals graze on pasture and their manure fertilizes the fields. These sustainable farms only take from the land what they can put back, so the land and the environment are preserved for future generations. They do not pollute the surrounding soil, air and water with manure, chemical pollution or runoff.

4. Animals are treated better. Sustainably-raised animals are treated humanely and are able to carry out their natural behaviors. They are not prone to stress, sickness and disease like those raised on factory farms. Farms raising animals sustainably do not overuse antibiotics and so do not contribute to the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.

5. Workers are treated better. Workers on sustainable farms are treated with respect and paid a fair wage.

6. Rural communities thrive. Sustainable farms add to the local community. Buying food from a local sustainable farm puts money back into that community because the farmer lives and shops there.

7. Less fossil fuel and energy use. Sustainable farms use more man-power, whereas factory farms use more machinery and mechanization, which uses up more fossil fuels. In addition, the long distance transport, and associated processing and packaging, related to industrial operations takes more energy.

8. Saves family farms. Buying food from your local sustainable farmer keeps the farmer in business, keeps the land s/he grows on protected, stops urban sprawl, and is better for the community at large.

As you were reading this, you were probably thinking, “Of course buying sustainable food is better, but….” And that “but” is probably well founded. What if you don’t have access to local food? What if you’re on a strict budget and can only afford to spend a certain amount of money on food? What should you do?

There are legitimate reasons why you might not be able to eat local, sustainable food, and we’ll try to address these issues in future posts. There may not be answers yet to every question, but raising any issue is the first step toward solving it.

We think that everyone can take steps toward eating healthier, and we’ll work with you so you can find a way to incorporate the freshest, most wholesome, healthiest food into your diet. And we’ll try even harder to make sure it’s local and sustainable!

So, next week, let’s jump into shopping for sustainable food. Seeing as the growing season will soon be upon us, let’s start talking about how to find the best food for you and your family.

(Diane Hatz is the Founder of Sustainable Table, Executive Producer of The Meatrix movies and co-Founder of the Eat Well Guide.)

Change Food® works toward a healthier food system for people, animals & the planet.  Learn more about Plant Eat Share – planting food in public spaces. For free.